Lost Talent

I’ve lost my beautiful singing voice! All of a sudden even I don’t think I sing wonderfully anymore! The kids have never thought so, philistines, and will ask me after the opening bar “Please don’t sing, Dad”. In fact I’ve used it as a weapon: “Want me to sing to you?” sometimes gets them to behave pronto.

Even the neighbourhood kids give a resounding NO THANKS PETE! when I suggest I sing to them in Italian instead of putting Nicky Minaj on the car stereo.

Aitch was the only person who ever said “I love it when you sing” but then she also called me “My handsome oke” so I pinch-of-salted her compliment. She would always ask me to sing “the evening song” when we were driving after dark: Kris Kristofferson’s “Best of all possible worlds”. Of course that’s mainly  gruffly mumbled, so that helped.

Of course I used to sing beautifully. The teacher who trained the seunskoor in Harrismith Laerskool  said so. I was a soprano and looked down on the altos who, though necessary as backup, weren’t in the same league as us squeakers. One directly behind me used to bellow in my ear: ‘Dek jou hol met bowse off hollie!’ FalalalaLA lalalala’

One day the discerning teacher Juffrou Cronje, chose me to sing a solo in the next konsert. Fame was imminent.

Then tragedy struck! My balls dropped. They handled it very diplomatically. By ignoring it and cancelling practice. The konsert didn’t materialise. Co-incidence? Surely they didn’t cancel a concert just because one boy suffered testicular descent? By the time the next one came around I hadn’t been banished – just consigned to the back and asked to turn it down.


There was one other time – in a sort of Harrismith se Hoer Skool’s Got Talent setting – that it was almost confirmed I sing wonderfully.

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Terry Brauer wrote: Oh Pete I am STILL laughing! But never let the kids be the judge of whether you can sing! They are just embarrassed by most of what we do anyway.  🙂

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Oh well, there’s still a lotta drinks that I aint drunk . . .

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‘Dek jou hol met bowse off hollie!’  – the famous ‘deck the halls with boughs of holly’ was improved in translation to ‘cover your arse with boughs of holly’;

How to Win Friends and Influence People

The alcohol you people drink is called ethanol. C2H5OH. This is a molecule that, in highly technical chemistry terms, looks like a hound dog with its leg cocked. Two carbon atoms (black) are stuck together to support an oxygen head (red). Six hydrogen atoms (white) spread out over the molecule to give each of the carbon atoms two feet, the oxygen atom a nose, and the rear carbon atom a tail. Ethanol is small, mobile, water and lipid soluble, so like a dog it can get into all sorts of places that maybe it shouldn’t. Like a dog it can also (sort of) head butt you in the crotch while sniffing to find out, or let others know, where you’ve been.

Ethanol Doggie

And where do you people want your ethanol? Why, in your brains, of course. That’s the point, innit? You might bulldust that you drink for your nose, or your palate, or your stomach or your blood. Rubbish. You drink to get that stuff in your brain. Once in the brain, alcohol acts on the nucleus accumbens. This area is a midpoint between the reward centre of a brain and the parts that make associations and memories. Ah, those memories, right? The good ones that you remember. And then there are those that your “friends” always insist on reminding you about!

Now everyone knows that too much alcohol at once can kill you, but how? It depresses nerve function, makes you sleep and suppresses the gag reflex, so people who are passed out can choke on their own vomit, like rock stars. So if you’re a wannabe rock star but can’t sing, can’t play, can’t grow your hair – there’s always that.

The brain also controls things like breathing and heart rate, and enough alcohol can shut down those parts of the brain too. People pass out and their brains simply forget to breathe.

BUT: Alcohol also has its good side, don’t forget! Scientifically, its a solution, and according to Homer Simpson, the solution to all life problems.

Homer alcohol

It causes a bunch of dopamine to be released, hot-wiring your brain-ular system.  It makes you feel confident and talkative, because it depresses some Shut Up! brain functions and deadens the Be Discreet centre. It also makes you feel good, dunnit? And invincible, right? Erudite, and a very good dancer and singer. Remember Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl?

So alcohol is brilliant and worth investing in. Also, depending on what research you choose to believe, a glass of wine per day can either not do any harm, prevent heart attacks, or make you functionally immortal. I believe the latter. Does that make me a Latter Day Saint? Long after you finally die, they’ll have to beat your liver to death with a stick. Or transplant it into some lucky recipient who can wake up in the operating theatre pre-pickled.

It’s kind of nice to know that – sometimes – relaxation, cheer, wittiness and immortality can literally be bottled. All that’s needed is to take care just how much alcohol you let into your brain at any one time.

Cheers!!

– – Paraphrased from a lovely article by Esther Inglis-Arkell. It’s worth a visit! It showcases Doug Adams’ cocktail, the ‘Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster’ from Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy and shows you how to set fire to grog in spectacular fashion. Marvelous stuff!

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Tommy Can You Hear Me?

On the school run one morning my Thomas is singing along with me:

I am a rock

I am an i-i-island

And a rock feels no pain

And an island ne—ver dies

Dad, he says, pretending to be really asking, not just being a smart-arse:

Do you really not feel pain?

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and remember:

Brauer asked: Totally reasonable and innocent question. So what’s the answer, ‘Swanie the rock’? ‘Peter the Rock’? True Granite?

Which reminds me of Larry the Yank back in 1969 who said of the Afrikaners in Harrismith: ‘They just hate being taken for granite’.

Lion spark

Let’s go to the lion park, Dad, I’ve never seen lions!
This is Jess. I remind her that she has, actually, in Zambia – but she was little – five years old, 2003. I must show her the pics in South Luangwa Park.

They’re in hard bargaining mode, as we’re on our way to my folks’ place in PMB. It’s my ole man’s 91st birthday lunch, which is why I’m dragging them to Sleepy Hollow. It’s not their best place to visit, so I agree: Behave sociably and we can go to the lion park after lunch. OK?

By the time we get to the “Lion Park” it’s closed, but we can “see the lions only”. Same price, one hundred Saffrican Ront. I decide stuffit, let’s rather do this properly. “Stuff these lions” I announce, “We’re going to Mfolosi game reserve for the day tomorrow”. “Let’s go and see if we can spot some real lions”.

We left at 6:00am sharp and were in the park at 8:40am, already paid and entered, R240 for the five of us and the car for the day.

We had a ball. The kids were expert spotters, we saw lots & lots of eles, rhino, buff, giraffe, nyala, impala, bushbuck, wilderbeasts, wartpigs ensovoorts. – And a clear sighting of a gorgeous bush shrike!!

Mfolosi (45)

 

Mfolosi 2013 Dec Sunday

We sang rap and Mama Mia all the way there and back. And we laughed! These brats have decided they don’t like mixing with too many communities. Especially in crowds. Used to be bantu, then plurals, anderskleuriges, euphemisms, etc. Now its communities.

“Don’t stop here, Dad” as we drive through a village, “there are too many communities here”. I threaten to buy them each a mirror so they can check their mahogany brown selves whenever they think of such nonsense, but they just hose themselves at me.

They must have introspected a bit, though, because at lunch at the picnic spot they announce: “Hey we’re the only communities here!” To shine them up I made them do a spot of community tribal dancing in a tree.

The communities doing a tribal dance
– the communities climb a tree – Jess & Minenhle –

Mfolosi (16)

And of course the two 12yr olds Tom & Lungelo couldn’t miss the opportunity to disgust the teenage girls by letting rip on the way back, causing a hasty winding down of windows and heads hanging out for fresh air till the green fumes could waft away.

So the lion park sparked a search for ‘real’ lions.

We didn’t see a lion this visit, but I heard a whole lotta lyin’.

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Saffrican Ront – South African Rand; worth anywhere from 70 US cents (1973) to 15 US dollars (2015)! Depends when you ask;

ensovoorts – etc.

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Pearls Before Swine

On Friday, August 3, 2012, Pete wrote: You can’t understand teenagers. Whenever I offer to sing to Jess and her friends to save her the cost of tickets to hear Justin Bieber or whoever, she says “OmiGawd, Dad, NO!”
When she’s in the car with friends and I offer to sing instead of listening to their CD’s, iPods, Blackberrys, bluetooth to my speakers, or whatever, I get a loud chorus of “No Thanks Pete!!” and whispered giggles to Jess about her weird Dad.

But she has a soft heart. Yesterday she came to me and said “Dad maybe old people would want to listen to you sing.”

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Steve Reed wrote: Want to listen to you sing?  Only old people who are drunk and who are also wanting to sing. I suspect this type of forced exposure to our dubious talents ( though with only the best of  intentions ) would have been responsible for a substantial degree of traumatic stress to our own kid . . . Character building though. 

Anyhow, good to see the SAfricans doing well in the Olympic medals. 

Aussies have brought a bunch of retired sportsmen out to have a go. The pre – Sydney games sports development initiative is now a thing of the past.

Go the ZA’s! . . and good on the Kiwis.

I wrote: Ah, austerity over posterity? The calvinist ideal. Usually used to deny poor people their fair share; but in this particular case I agree with it, I’m afraid. ‘Specially here, where much money is spent looking for medals (and my favourite: building plush, empty, white-elephant stadiums) while people have no jobs, houses or electricity. Even lotto gives money to ruddy sports clubs rather than genuine charities. Bums me.

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Back to singing: Fine tradition, drunk warbling.

Steve: One of Australia’s best has yet again done his country ‘proud’ . . .

Australian Olympic rower will offer his apologies to the shop owners whose windows he damaged. Booth will also pay more than $2000 to the owners in a bid to avoid criminal charges. The 21-year-old Melbourne University student was intoxicated during the incident as the team was out celebrating.

The men’s eight rowing team qualified 6th just hours before the incident. The Australian Olympic Committee have little doubt of Booth’s involvement and say he is responsible for all reparations. Many believe the incident has caused embarrassment for the Australian Olympic team. (Me: Drunkenness has cause Aussie embarrassment? C’mon! Get real).

Booth fainted and hit his head at the police station after being arrested. He was then taken to hospital as a precaution. 

And no, they take NO DRUGS…

I wrote: Having once (long ago) experimented with this very same drug, I have to keep quiet at times like this . . .

Steve: Still doing controlled experiments myself. Let’s call it research. 

I wrote: Yep – C2H5OH taken internally . . ongoing experimentation.

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