A Thursday evening in Chungna

•August 2, 2012 • 2 Comments

Tonight, just minutes from now, I will attempt to use a gas stove, labeled entirely in Korean, to cook my first actual meal here since I arrived on Saturday. I don’t mean to stir up any alarm, but since this may be the last time I see and interact with the world before being engulfed in a fireball of beef-stock flavoured death, I thought I’d update you all on the shit I’ve been up to on my last week on this earth.

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Wish me luck

You may have heard, if you’ve spoken to me in the last few days, that shit here is hot. No big deal, though, right? You hear about how hot it is here all the time, and we’ve had a couple of sidewalk cookers in SA over the years, no? Yeah, well it ain’t the heat in this kitchen that’s got me and my fellow foreign teachers mopping our brows, sunshine – it’s this blast furnace humidity. It’s everywhere, and it gets into everything. Evening respite? Not a chance, bru, not with our new patented heat linger system. Now you can experience the sensation of inhaling Dante’s farts on the ninth level of hell, at any time of the day.

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See that? It’s an air conditioner. I own one of these bastards now. I’ve taken to just standing in front of it topless and groaning for a quarter of an hour before heading out anywhere in town. This morning, I also pulled a Chris Turk and left not one, but two pairs of boxers in the freezer part of my fridge.

This is me, worrying about breathing recycled air, right now:

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Still, I feel I gotta make it clear: I really like this place. The people are all super friendly (although I’ve met precisely two who can speak halfway decent English, so getting a useful response out of a shop owner is near impossible without miming). My digs is pretty great, and kitted out with everything in the world except for a stupid freaking spaghetti spoon. And of course, there’s the air conditioner. How I love her so.

There are the standard Korean customs to go along with the general air of culture around here. Taking off your shoes just inside of a person’s home or at a restaurant is crucial, or they will assume you’re being disrespectful. Little head bows when you’re dealing with someone have a great effect on your service. There are, of course, little cultural things that aren’t tradition, that you just pick up on being from another part of the world. I’m not sure if it’s South Africa specifically, but I understand that if I come up behind someone like I need to get past or whatever, if they see me coming and they have the room, typically they’ll move automatically. Here, from what I’ve seen, it’s more of a touch thing – you need to actually physically nudge a guy or tap them on the shoulder and straight up ask, “Can I come past?”

There’s also the women. Off the bat, I’ve been blown away by exactly how stunningly beautiful every woman is here. Lee, my brother, has always been first on the whole “Asiatic, super porcelain beauty” train, but I can now fully understand what he means. They’re like, put-you-behind-bullet-proof-glass-in-my-safe-and-tell-you-stories-about-the-world-outside pretty. Like you just don’t even want to touch them. The problem is, though, that a lot of the ones I’ve met in the last few days have been pretty vain. Many women here carry very large, like, fold-out vanity mirrors. Definitely larger than a compact or whatever, and they’ll just stare intently into it, fixing themselves, wherever the hell.

Not that there’s anything wrong, at all, with a woman wanting to maintain her looks or makeup or whatever, but it does come across as a little conceited when you’re giving such focused attention to it. It’s almost definitely just a customs thing, like the Samsung touch flood you see everywhere, and, besides, it ain’t even really that big a deal. Just not my scene.

Other things to watch out for:

  • Jaywalking: I didn’t know it, but a lifetime of living in a country where the street signs or more like guidelines than rules to be obeyed has turned me into a serious jaywalker. So serious, in fact, that a copper actually blurted his siren at me while I was crossing a busy intersection yesterday because the little red man hadn’t changed. Dude popped up out of nowhere, like his whole car had been beamed down from the Enterprise, it was something else.
  • The drinking: Koreans drink. A lot. And the ones that tell you at work that they don’t drink and you feel kind of bad because you had a quart or twelve with your brother the night before you left to come here and you just told them and now they’re looking at you all, “Cool story, bro”? They drink more than anyone you’ve ever met in your life. I went out with some teachers from my school for dinner the other night, some restaurant called the “Dino Meat Grille”, and got drunk under the table by this teeny tiny little Korean Pepsi-commercial-looking girl. Hard. They drink this stuff called SoJu here which is basically Vodka without all the good manners. It’s just light-tasting enough that you drink it with pretty much any meal, but then it sneaks in the back door and spraypaints over all your security cameras and takes the manager of your brain out back and stabs him in the eye with a broken bottle. And this freaking girl was putting it away, and screaming “Masha” at me every step of the way with mine (Masha means, directly, drink, but they use it like “chug chug chug” over here”). My advice is, if you ain’t built for it (which I’m not) figure out when it’s least rude to bow out and hightail it before they’re pumping GimBap out of your stomach in the emergency ward while your coworkers chingching to good health in the background.

Otherwise, everything’s been toasty. Practicing my chopsticks on ramen pretty much every day (I’ve figured out that ramen, kimchi, GimBap, and my cornflakes are all reasonably safe, and have stuck, so far to the familiar in that regard). The school itself is dope – this really new, very sleek type of office block space, where all the classrooms are named after famous universities, like Columbia and UCLA and whatnot. Kids are all cool, but yeah, they can’t speak English to save their lives. I’ll probably write a little something about that in the near future though. I start teaching actual classes on Monday.

For now, I’m off to try and not die from using my stove.

Bye for now.

PS. I’ve added a bunch of photos from the past few days. Word.

Duncan watches a World Cup match on a Sunday. For real real.

•September 11, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I’m not exactly what anyone would call…one with the sports. When I was a kid, I was so clumsy, I had to take remedial classes to learn how to balance properly  on my feet. I’m being totally serious – sports players were like freaking magicians to me. Soccer, rugby, tennis, it all seemed to go right over my head, and always has, really. I get why they’re important, and the rich history they have in the context of our country. I’m proud of South Africa’s achievements in rugby, more from a political standpoint than anything else, and last year’s whole soccer thing was just ducky.

Thing is: I don’t think I’ve ever watched a rugby game from start to finish.

*Duncan braces for scorn*

Still, the bigger the shortcoming, the better the opportunity to fix it and brag about it online 😛 Tomorrow morning, at 10:30, on my own steam, I’m going to check out the South Africa – Wales game. This may not sound like that big a deal, but trust me, this is the sports equivalent of a Jersey Shore cast member in the front row at a Feynman lecture.

Except Snooki. That dude cracks me up.

Maybe it’s my nationalist guilt, maybe I’m just getting older, or maybe it’s because I don’t have anything better to do and it’s an excuse to crack a beer before lunch without all the judgement. Whatever the reasons, I’ll be parked in front of my TV at 10 tomorrow morning, checking out what’s what, and, granted, probably not understanding a damn thing. Who knows, maybe I’ll get a big enough kick out of it to check out some more games this WC season.

Or maybe I’ll wake up at 2, like I do most Sundays, and realise I’ve missed another bout of sweaty, carrot shaped men in grass stained shorts. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Any advice on what I should be watching for tomorrow morning, or how this game works, like, at all, would be much appreciated. Leave your comments here

Something to get angry about (the Jenny McCarthy Story)

•February 8, 2011 • 1 Comment

We were all pretty angry in high school.


Quickly-developing young men, sprouting stubble and entranced by the rhythms of hip-hop and chugging maladies of heavy metal, the way we spoke about the world carried with it the sneer of an adolescent rage – undirected, uninformed, self indulgent, and self sustaining. Rage Against the Machine inspired us to say “Fuck the police” (a line none of us realised had been lifted in homage to 1986 rap aggressors N.W.A, who we’d never heard of), and Slipknot asked “Where you gonna be in the next five years?” with the kind of sarcasm we hoped only registered on our own sanctified wavelength.


We were dumb, angry kids, with an axe to grind, and no whetstone in sight.

Six years after high school, I still feel pretty angry. The big difference is,

it’s easier to find things to be angry about these days.

 



>This is Jenny McCarthy.

 


Jenny McCarthy is a Chicago born American model, comedian, actress, author and activist. Television watchers out there will probably recognise her face from appearances on 90’s television shows like Charmed, and Just Shoot Me, as well as Charlie Sheen’s delivery on everyone’s fears that 2000 would mark the apocalypse, Two and a Half Men.

I miss Family Ties being the worst thing on TV.




In 2007, she also began her role as activist in a controversial and extremely dangerous campaign against the use of the MMR vaccine, a common immunization shot against measles, mumps and rubella. This attenuated vaccine, (“a vaccine created by reducing the virulence of a pathogen, but still keeping it viable (or ‘live’)”, at a harmless level) is typically administered to children around the world before they reach one year old, and then again at age four or five (in order to ensure  measles immunity). This form of active immunization is common, and effective when administered at an early age. Essentially, the process introduces the (then) foreign virus into the body at such a small level that it causes no harm, and is not considered virulent (likely to spread, like a virus). Its presence in the child’s bloodstream, however, prompts the body’s immune system to begin developing antibodies, based on the structure and chemical makeup of the virus itself, which will most effectively combat the virus at any later stage. In this way, the body becomes “buffered” against attacks from this virus at any later stage, having been familiarised with it in its diminutive state.


Andrew Wakefield is where this concept starts to get called into question.




This British born ex-surgeon has garnered world wide infamy as the source of a fraudulent, unsupported 1998 study which claimed the parents of 12 children with autism-like behavioural symptoms linked the onset of these symptoms with the recent administering of the MMR vaccine. Now let’s pause right here: that’s where the precipice of danger with all of this comes into view. What you have here is a doctor (a title presumed by most to convey an infallible education and sense of right from wrong) telling the scientific world that a life saving remedy, administered for years, currently residing in the bodies of the vast majority of your population, is also linked with a severe neurological condition which impedes and distorts social interaction and communication.

Ladies and gentlemen of Salem Massachusetts: start your engines.




Autism is a difficult and largely ununderstood disorder, and is extremely close in diagnosis to Asperger syndrome and PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified). These constitute a group of disorders which deficit social growth from a young age, escapism through repetitive or  restricted behaviour, and extreme difficulty in matching up to social standards of communication.  Wakefield’s paper, reportedly, actually confirmed that “no causal connection had been proven” between a novel form of bowel disease, autism, and the MMR vaccine, Wakefield stated in an interview: “I think that it should be suspended in favour of the single vaccines“. This particular press conference has drawn particular criticism as it was implied by Wakefield that the vaccination issue had become a moral one, something where he, as a medical professional, who had done research into this particular problem, could no longer endorse the triple vaccination process.


As an average, Facebook clicking, McDonald’s eating person, if I had heard this, I know at least a part of me would have been scared out of my pants.


The thing is, as many of you who’ve heard this story before know by this stage, he resigned from his post at the time due to the backlash against his appearing publicly and causing concern over findings which were, at the time, and by and large ever since, unsupported and not found in similar test groups anywhere else within the scientific community. Also, and this is just a small aside, a 2004 Sunday Times article reported that a group within the group of parents involved in the “groundbreaking test” had been recruited by a lawyer who was, himself, preparing a lawsuit against MMR manufacturers. Added to this, was the November 2004 find that he (Wakefield) had applied for patents on the single jab vaccine alternative before his anti-three-jab-campaign. Thirteen year old me?

Here is something to be angry about.




So, now you’ve got a situation where this panic inducing “find” is proved to be built upon skewed motives, as well as testimonies from various people involved claiming that Wakefield had flat out ignored data when it didn’t agree with his previous findings, council hearings against his fitness to practice, and eventually 2009 and 2010 claims by newspapers that Wakefield had falsified results as well as conditions of the experiment itself, his lie was laid out flat before the public. His results were retracted, and the scientific publications which had put his findings forward in the first place retracted eight kinds of shit out of them.


And Jenny McCarthy is in his corner, as of this very year, claiming he’s been targeted by a single British tabloid, that his findings are still viable, and that “this hoopla made us a little stronger, and even more determined to fight for the truth about what’s happening to our kids.” As a mother, a celebrity, and a human being, this is unthinking and reckless behaviour – there have been reports of all three of the diseases usually prevented by this “multi-jab” vaccine since McCarthy and Wakefield went halvsies on this medical scare-blitz, whereas numbers before were uniformly near-non-existent. There is no responsibility in taking away a disease preventing procedure in favour of “science” which has been found to be heavily influenced, at least partially incorrect, and not indicative of the dire situation which directed everybody away from the safety of the vaccine in the first place. This is stubbornness, and I for one, don’t appreciate it mixed in with my healthcare.

Doctors cure HIV + cancer patient

•December 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

As South Africans who came of age at the breaking in of a new millennium, there are many things that I, my friends, and extended age group have grown up through and lived among that have been uniquely ours. Like any generation, we’ve had the opportunity to watch the world grow around us, shaping us and influencing our thoughts and actions on a second-to-second basis. In a lot of ways, we as a generation, came in at the burn-off stage of all the big things like M-TV, rock and roll, Princess Diana.

 

It’s true, 20 to 23 year olds, for the most part, remember who she was, but, if you really think about it, most of the time our impressions of her are constituted by our parents opinions at the time. Flattering You Magazine cover shots, and Jacqui O sunglasses at a time in our youth when our Power Rangers and my little ponies were still a priority. Sure, we can remember what she looked like, and maybe even being sad when she passed away back in ’97. But we were kids – I cried when the Nesquick bunny lost his chocolate milk.

It was a tough time for everybody.

What I’m saying is, we didn’t live through that stuff, we just happened to be there. And we’ve been fine with that, for the most part – no news is good news, as far as Generation Next (Generation Y?) is concerned – and it seems we’re starting to come into our own set of firsts. We’ve sat through the extended (and ongoing) Operation Iraqi Freedom, which has been tragic, drawn-out, and sneered at by the world’s populace. We watched the removal of a dictator, while other tyrants maintained their power unchallenged. From white chart topping rappers, to the first black American president (also, possibly the most squeaky clean thus far), to local tomfoolery on the part of our president, our youth league, and our youth league’s president, we’ve seen a lot this year and, I suppose, in our short lifetimes. But none of it’s felt like a moon landing, or like Chris Barnard transplanting a heart.

 



Earlier this week, I read my generation-defining news story. I read something that made me believe that my age group is going to be around and absorbing news in our prime at a time in world history when breakthroughs are at their most meaningful.**


Earlier this week, Berlin doctors announced they had inadvertently cured a cancer patient of his lingering HIV infection. Stem cell treatment (research into aspects of which is still questioned, halted and hindered in areas of the world) was administered to Berliner Timothy Ray Brown after he suffered a leukaemia relapse in 2007. The stem cells themselves were the product of an out-of-the-ordinary donor who, by way of genetic inheritance, also donated CD4 cells that lack a CCR5 receptor . “The most common variety of HIV uses CCR5 as its ‘docking station’, attaching to it in order to enter and infect CD4 cells,” reads the aidsmap.com article.The cell mutation itself is actually present in less than 1% of Caucasians in northern and western Europe, and typically prevents new HIV infections. This, however, is the first indication ever that a standing infection can be reversed by incorporating the mutation by means of a transplant.


I can’t stress enough how incredible it is to, after years of struggling, be standing at the precipice of new and groundbreaking research into repeating this amazing success story in other patients. I can not be any more blunt but to say it is mindblowing to have been alive to read a newsletter headline such as this. I live on the South African continent, and 5.7 million of my fellow South Africans are currently infected with this deadly virus. And we’ve lived most of our lives assuming we’d all be dead before anybody like Timothy Brown had  a story like this to share. HIV and AIDS have literally burned a hole in the collective dignity of a lot of South Africans, and while clinical trials, and the wide ranging and lengthy process of stem cell research mean a cure will probably surface around the turn of the century, I have never, until this week, read any HIV related news story that made me smile – I am deeply and earnestly moved.



**I understand that technology, space exploration, science, and communications have all progressed to incredible points in their own respective fields – I’m regularly amazed by how little I actually know. I have, however, waited years to hear the words, “Cured HIV infection”.

Dear Christmas: I love you. Sincerely: Duncan

•December 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Somebody recently asked me if I like christmas.


Now that’s a tough question to answer, but not because it’s hard to decide whether you (I)  like christmas or not. That part’s easy. Toss aside religious overtones (or hold on to them for dear life, depending on your ideological needs), and the wide spread commercialisation which has become almost cliché in essays about the festive season, and it’s like asking someone, “Say, where do you stand on ice cream“, or rainbows, or bunnies. Not that I endorse standing on bunnies. That seems a little thoughtless, and with Easter still a couple of months away, the little guys have a tough enough time as it is.


It’s just obvious that the holiday season is nice. Not soul touching or paradigm altering – on December 25th 1974, Cyclone Tracy tore a hole through most of Darwin, Australia. In 1971, christmas day saw the worst hotel fire in history kill 163 guests at Taeyokale Hotel, in Seoul, South Korea. People are going to get robbed going into and coming out of big department stores to return presents their spouses got them on misguided Glomail advice (because apparently it doesn’t matter if your thigh master can julien cut potatoes). It’s not a magical cure all day that makes people nice, or redirects hurricanes to settle in the pacific. Heck, Christianity only accounts for 33% of the world’s total population, meaning that more than 3/5 of people everywhere have no official stake in this tradition – including me.


But I kind of love it, christmas. This holiday season I’ll be seeing my family for the first time in months. Living in South Africa, christmas isn’t a snowy winter wonderland like it is in Hollywood (or Nazereth, by all accounts) – christmas day is spent in the midst of one of the hottest periods of the year, which means closed curtains, lots of fizzy drinks straight out of the fridge, and sprinting from the front door to the car over the hot cement when you go to see auntie so-and-so for tea. There aren’t traditions so much as there are things that happen traditionally – Boney M, the global voice of christmas for the 20th and 21st centuries, has its place here as much as anywhere else in the world, although most of the time it’s more blaring out of the Eveready wind up radio balanced on your neighbour’s deck chair in his garden, “Joy to the World” accompanying the chatter of men, women and children all baking outside in the sun.

It’s…the most wonderful time of the year?




We don’t hang up stockings, or roast chestnuts, or any of that bizarre yule log stuff. Christmas in South Africa means pudding, gammon, and the smell of moth balls as you bring out all the crockery you never eat off of any other time of the year. Braais, swimming, drives, and beers in the 25 – 28º (Celcius) heat. It’s about keeping your cat off the decorations for another day while mom plots slaai and casseroles with ouma, the kids (even if you don’t have young children anymore, kids just seem to pop up, as if orbed in from some holiday season sky creche that keeps them on ice for the rest of the year) wading through mountains of wrapping paper like a colourful swamp full of cartoon rudolphs and Hannah Montana.



How do you always end up all over my floor?


And yes, it is tedious having to coordinate gift giving and top secrecy on a day when everyone knows they’re getting presents anyway. It doesn’t make it any more of a surprise that I don’t know what the present is – I still know I’m getting one, and besides that, what the hell have I done in the past year to warrant presents? It’s almost like saying “Merry 365th day since the last time I got guilted into buying you boxer-briefs, soap-on-a-rope, and the holiday edition FHM calendar which you totally have to let me have a look through while you play with your brother’s legos for the next five hours.”



The gift giving thing seems a little silly at times, but I guess it’s also part of all of it, and I need new soap-on-a-rope anyway.


So, in short, do I think christmas is perfect? Nah, the thing’s been completely overrun by the media and globalisation – I wouldn’t be surprised if this time next year we’re celebrating McChristmas. Obviously it’s got a huge western influence hanging over it, and it’s known by many around the world as one of the most depressing times of the entire calendar year, followed (probably) shortly by valentines day.

You smug little bastard.


But I love it. And you know what, literally everything and everyone I know and love are the product of coke, KFC and Arnold Schwarzenegger – I love them all just the same. This christmas, I’m going to loaf around with my bare feet on the carpet, watch Top TV or play the Atari vintage system I got for christmas last year, drink cider and try to ignore the neighbours’ god forsaken Boney M CD, as it finishes, hits the [[Auto Repeat]] and kicks back off with the christmas medley. I hope that, in some way or another, everyone reading this gets to do the same.



Merry christmas.

Taxi Racist Sounds Confused

•November 4, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I take a taxi into work in the mornings.


Yeah, scary right? Bustling Capetonian metropolis, a million cars at a thousand cramped intersections, newspaper headline splashes on lamp posts passing by, sometimes at an uncomfortable speed. Yes, I know what the newspapers say, and I know it’s not just them saying it. There are accidents, and a lot most of them are the direct cause of idiot taxi drivers trying to cram as many people into a bus as possible, overtaking on the left to cut time, hooking a curb on the way past the Albert Road traffic circle, and casing into a wall (check out this recent story for more reasons to think I’m an idiot for riding in these things: http://n24.cm/dmxCWl).


I could tell you the public-transport alternatives would be to either take the train and have Starey Stareington of Creepy Castle stare at me with his pervert eyes the entire way into and out of work every day (a forty to sixty minute drive, each way),https://i2.wp.com/i3.ytimg.com/vi/E24UJN_fXXY/0.jpg

“Me’scusey”


you know, provided he doesn’t stab me in the eyes, take my shoes, and set the train on fire, or to take the bus, which travels at a speed close to that of a soggy mound of toilet paper being blown across my driveway by the dying breaths of a lung cancer patient. This means I would have to get up at 6AM to make it out of the house by 6:20AM to make it onto a bus which will literally be overtaken on its journey into the City Bowl by the progression of the sun across the sky. You might respond with “Well, it’s better than having an accident”, to which I would have to respond, “But is it really?”


So, I taxi in. And most of the time it’s actually very pleasant. Morning taxis are quiet, with people mostly just interested in catching their breath from running to the bus stop, and strangely unconcerned about the driver’s bizarre music taste (Bryan Adams and Right Said Fred at 7:30 in the morning might get to you, but these people are made out of hardier things).

Look into your heart, and you will f – god, what are these guys, deaf?”


Which is what frustrated me this morning when I listened in on another iteration of an extremely stupid and annoying South African trend (I haven’t been anywhere else, it might happen where you live too): people here talk to people who are of a different race to them like they’re deaf! Or, at the very least, like “talking in the same unfortunate accent as they do will help them to better understand us”! It’s ridiculous! There is a common and really awful perception in South Africa that a “black accent” (which we reasonably accept there is) denotes a lack of education. So people from typically white, upper middle class neighbourhoods with matric qualifications in tourism or home industries, condescend (and I can’t stress how not exaggerated this is) everywhere they go to people based solely on their accents. It’s incredible and maddening to see happen, standing behind Mrs Bloombury at the Pick ‘n Pay cash register with your tinkies, muesli, and 2 liter coke, waiting while she puts on her best black accent so that the university educated black man working there between jobs can understand what she is saying to him. And, of course, the popular perception of this phenomenon is one of absolute necessity. I’ve even had it explained to me as  the only real middle ground between cultures, an amicable and friendly way to put both parties on the same level and in a “comfort zone’.



If someone addressed me in what they thought was the accent I speak and they were clearly doing their best outsider’s impression, I would feel no comfort whatsoever.


So when this coloured lady on the bus this morning started conversationally gifting the driver with her fantastic black accent, I listened in, and I realised something: aside from being incredibly racist, these people also sound like complete idiots! This lady, very obviously from a Cape Town afrikaans family, with a nasal voice and short, clipped enunciation, was talking to this guy in what she thought was a thick, guttural accent, laced with all the insulting stereotypes any South African might associate with this accent. She went all out, stylised as hell, chatting this man’s ear off for the majority of the drive in, and by the end of it, no one could tell what accent she was trying to speak in anymore. What was coming out of this woman’s mouth sounded like a Haitian trying to speak Swahili to a Spanish fax machine in its native dialect – it was hopeless, and ridiculously funny.  Even the driver looked dumb struck and amused, and the looks she was being shot by the people around me were enough to make it all worth while by the time we climbed off at the station.

I know it sounds obvious, and maybe even a little cheesy to say, but don’t ever try to be who you think other people are so they’ll feel more at home. It’s one of the first rules of anthropology – when integrating into a new group or interacting with someone outside of your normal daily routine, be exactly who you always are, or they will smell your bullshit.

Dave Grennan watches a star die

•October 7, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Irish pop-rock singer-songwriter Chris de Burgh hails from the cobblestone walkways of Dublin, Ireland, and he wrote “Spanish Train”.

Irish pop-rocks

“Spanish Train” is awesome, and until this morning, that was literally the single cool thing I knew about Dublin. That might actually have been the coolest thing about Dublin, period. “No way! Dublin was the birthplace of Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker, as well as George Bernard Shaw.” Yeah, but they also spat out U2, and, with them, that walking sunglasses and cowboy hat rack, Bono Vox.

Dammit, Ireland – why?!


Like him or not, he changed the face of rock and roll – his work on Rattle and Hum was awesome, and he’s a humanitarian to boot. What have your crappy little bistro cafe performances ever done for humanity, you folk-singing hater?”

Ok, first off, for a hypothetical heckler, you’re pretty mean about folk singers. Can you really have beef with someone who plays an acoustic guitar? That’s the core of our charm. I think you just need to relax, drink your Appletiser and let me explain a few things to you, chucks.

Bono might be a lot of things that Oprah looks for in a stubbly faced man, and yeah, “With or without you” was pretty good, and, I suppose, if you get down to it, U2 have earned the right to do whatever the hell they want with their music. Ok, you can have your stupid U2…because I have something even more awful that Dublin has given us. Ladies and gentlemen, I present, to you, live from Ireland, Colin Farrell!

Goatee. Knitted wool beanie thing.

Yeah, Dublin – it’s over between us.

 

So, with nothing really exciting or worthwhile happening in that neck of the woods, imagine my surprise when I flipped over to the Cape Times website this morning to find out that 39-year-old Dave Grennan, a software developer from the Irish capital, has just recently born witness to the actual, real life supernova of a star so far away, it died while there were still dinosaurs roaming the planet. (source) I mean, yeah, sure, they’re pretty much all that far away (with, I don’t know, the exception of Sol – don’t quote me on that), but that’s actually still really wild. That’s a legitimate discovery of something that won’t around anymore in three months. With the lag of light racing across the curve of the universe towards us, and around 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (ten sextillion) stars (at a conservative estimate) currently playing intergalactic Christmas decoration, this cooped up Irish astronomy nut and his wife tracked down one dying star (since designated “2010ik” due to its supernova status), out of a mirror ball dome of stars, and did Ireland proud.

 

Good job, guys – I actually still can’t forgive you for Bono, though. Sorry.

Pretty