Predictions for 2011

December 29, 2010

This is the time of year when psychics and other riff-raff of the mystical realms emerge from their malodorous lairs to make known their predictions of events for the coming year. I am not a psychic, but I am the proud owner of a second-hand crystal ball, into which I shall now gaze for your benefit.


My crystal ball reveals that the following people will shuffle off this mortal coil during 2011.

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin (1942-2011): Her silver voice stilled at last, although still available on CD. Our loss is the gain of the choir invisible.

Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking (1942-2011): English physicist. He will finally succumb to motor neuron disease, but his radiation will go on.

Barry Ronge

Barry Ronge (?-2011): Movie critic. No more shall his fatuous features fill our telescreens, or his unctuous tones drip like rancid cooking oil from our radio loudspeakers, or his silly scribblings take up our newspaper columns. Yay.

Natural Disasters

There will be a powerful earthquake on the Pacific rim this year which will leave thousands homeless.

The year will begin and end with severe blizzards in the Northern hemisphere.

Hurricanes will ravage the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and the East coast of the USA in the third quarter of 2011.

My crystal ball is silent on the subject of meteor strikes or volcanic eruptions, so I presume there will be none.


New Zealand will break their world cup jinx and carry home the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

South Africa will regain the number one ranking in test cricket.

Western Province will win the Curry Cup for 2011.


I can’t seem to get anything in focus. It’s all just a blur of interchangeable figures talking incomprehensible gibberish. Therefore just more of what we had this year.


The following numbers will be drawn in the lottery during the course of the year: 3 5 8 13 21 34

We shall revisit these predictions at the end of next year to see how they stand up compared to those of the “real” psychics.

Chill out and have fun in the new year.

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Grumpy Old Man by Mark Widdicombe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License

Traditional Tragedy

December 9, 2010

I am enraged, depressed and bewildered. Every year this same horror story appears in our newspapers and no one seems to give a damn. This is the 21st century and we still condone the mutilation and murder of children in the name of “culture” and “tradition”.

Cape Times 8 December 2010

Every year parents, who presumably love their sons, send those sons to these initiation rituals where they have the tips of their penises hacked off with a rusty spear. This is supposed to initiate them into manhood.

“My father had it done, my grandfather had it done, my great grandfather had it done, therefore my son must have it done.” Spot the fallacy. To give some credit to the powers that be, these initiation schools have been outlawed in the sense that they are nominally illegal, but there appears to be no enforcement of the law, and there is no attempt to educate rural communities about the dangers of infection or basic hygienic measures. Even if they did those things, it would not be enough to appease my rage.

Imagine the following conversation between a policeman and a parent:

“Good morning, sir. It has reached our ears that you have hacked the beating heart out of your daughter’s chest. Would you care to explain why?”

“I’m an Aztec, officer. It is part of our culture and tradition to remove the hearts from our first-born daughters in order to please the gods.”

“Ah, well, that explains it then, sir. Have a nice day.”

That would never happen, would it? Why not? As a society we are prepared to tolerate almost any outrage, provided only that it is perpetrated in the name of religion, culture or tradition. You deny your child medical treatment because you adhere to a religion which says that seeking medical treatment denies faith, and the child dies, and your actions are condoned because of course we can’t possibly criticise anyone’s religion, no matter how idiotic it is.

I say that if we wish to regard ourselves as in any degree civilised, we must hold ourselves to standards of behaviour and moral conduct that transcend religion and culture. If a traditional practice is shown to be harmful, then it must be stopped. The way to end this annual penis-pruning is to arrest the sangomas responsible and charge them with murder, and also arrest the parents and charge them with manslaughter. Word will soon get around, and perhaps the next generation of children will be spared this barbarism.

Creative Commons License
Grumpy Old Man by Mark Widdicombe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License