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Showing posts from November, 2017

Undetected Mental Illness

Professionals have their own definition of mental illness.Ordinary folks do not.They just see me acting weird or crazy.What is nice about pointing a finger at someone is that the thumb points back at you.

Familiarity.We label people crazy because of certain behaviour observed over a period of the time: the woman who wears the same clothes and pushes a grocery cart full of clothes; the man who carries a sign THE END IS NEAR; the woman who cries when she asks for quarters; the man who has been sitting at Assiniboine Park with his luggage for the past three years and the man who talks to himself at a major bus stop but never catches a bus. We call it mental illness because such behaviour happens in public.Yours happens in private, behind closed doors, but you also display some mental illness to people who see you regularly at Starbucks, on the street, bus or any other public place.They have questions about how you dress or act and why you are at a certain place at a certain time.

Two women …

Oppression in Zulu

To oppress or press something hard is cindezela in Zulu.We will deal with the verb today because the noun incidezelo, will injure your tongue.

Oppression, which can be blatant or latent, is part of life.Apartheid, slavery and religion are quite blatant.Wife abuse is latent until women have swollen eyes or die at the hands of their husbands.Some mothers tell daughters to grin and bear because they tolerated it, so did their grandmothers and great grandmothers.
Oppression can also come from grown up kids who regularly extort money from ageing parents or force them to sell the family home, pocket the money and send them to old age institutions. Born to shop is oppression, self oppression that is. Ci-nde-ze-la.The first part is pronounced as the expression Ci! Ci! Ci! The second part is pronounced as in endemic, the third part as is zebra and the last one as in lucky.

ZULU ENGLISH U-ya-ngi-cindezela u-Boris. Boris is oppressing me. U-ya-ngi-cindezela u-Greta. Greta is oppressing me. O-basi ba-cind…

Office Parties No Cellphones Allowed

No cellphones at weddings.It is now common for the bride and groom to ask guests not to take photos because they don’t know where they’ll end up.

The same thing should apply to office parties.No picture taking thanks very much.Come to think of it, cellphones should be checked in at the door with parkas, in Canada and Russia that is.Logistics would be the problem though.Coats have hangers, not cellphones.Switching them off is a good idea.
Why?Because all workers have friends and enemies.Year-end parties are about letting your hair down, time to forget about falling sales, unfair promotions and customers from hell.Unfortunately, booze forces other things to go down, like running mascara.Make-up is not as smooth as it was at the beginning of the party.Enemies might grab that chance to take lousy photos and post them online. The tongue also runs loose after a few drinks.It might reveal how you feel about your boss, like how you love and want to marry her.Don’t do it.Your enemy might send the…

Black Friday Injury Insurance

Black Friday insurance for shoppers might not help because insurance in general, is notorious for finding some loophole not to pay up when floods, fire or any calamity, descend upon us.

Insurance is a by product of capitalism.You own something but you take insurance in case something goes wrong.You buy a house which was built on sick land and one day it disappears, sucked by hidden chemicals.Insurance might show you some fine print that it insured the structure, not the land, and since the house disappeared, they are not paying.

Black Friday is no exception.Intelligent shoppers have already taken insurance against the stampede, which begins as soon as doors open.Then the games begin, two shoppers pull a sweater left and right because they both claim they saw it first.One shopper strangles another one, over that last microwave, which is 80% off the original price.A shopper might knock you dead with a drill, rather than let you have it.

Black Friday is a contact sport therefore, your shopp…

Book Review The Precious One

Re-arranging the furniture a bit and giving Wilson a voice, would have enabled me to finish The Precious One, a novel by Marisa Los Santos, much earlier.Wilson left his wife and two kids, Marcus and Taisy for Caroline, a young sculptress.Willow, their daughter, is one of the story tellers.

Wilson’s hatred for his father seems to be the book’s foundation.Maybe hate is an understatement because in his youth, he quietly made plans for boarding school, got accepted, left home never to return and changed his name to Cleary, so readers know him as Wilson Cleary.
He ‘emancipated himself’, as the author put it, through Barbara, his sister, who was devastated when he severed all ties with the family.However, the conveyor belt for The Precious One is Taisy, and Willow. There is no second guessing about the precious one.Willow is. The two voices are a stumbling block at times because they have their own concerns, which might not be a priority for anxious readers that have migraines because of unans…

Sweeping in Zulu

Sweeping is shanela in Zulu.Fall leaves have pretty colours but they must be swept from the yard.Mama said a girl should sweep the house before she goes to school or town.Grandmother made brooms from dry grass.

My novel Sweetness has a character that sells brooms at the market. Vacuum cleaners are also brooms I suppose.A broom is um-shanelo in Zulu. Sha-ne-la.The first part is pronounced as in shall, the second part as in nest and the last part as in lucky.

ZULU ENGLISH Shanela i-bala. Sweep the yard. Shanela i-garaji. Sweep the garage. U-Luis Arsenio u-ya-shanela. Luis Arsenio is sweeping. U-Jean Claude u-ya-shanela. Jean Claude is sweeping. U-Claudette u-ya-shanela. Claudette is sweeping. Vuka.U-shanele. Wake up and sweep. Ba-shanela e-sontweni. They are sweeping the church. Ba-shanela umgwaqo. They are sweeping the road. Ngi-shanela ngom-shanelo. I sweep with a broom. U-baba u-mashanela.

Vintage Automobiles vs. Old cars

Vintage automobiles are not about age or model.They are about ownership.Rich owners are every new car’s dream.

“I wish to have an owner who will love me even in my old age, and make me vintage, not leave me under the tree to be chickens’ playground.”
Vintage car owners usually have the latest cars in the garage but keep the older ones for sentimental reasons. Old?Wrong word.Vintage cars never get old because owners pamper them.They keep them somewhere nice and warm until the summer, then they re-polish and drive them to auto shows for photo shoots. The difference between vintage and old cars is how people react to them.They admire vintage cars and walk around them touching steering wheels as big as cartwheels and laughing at speedometers (80 miles per hour).

People frown at old cars because some of them are missing an arm or a leg (wheels or doors).Forget about the upholstery.It is all cracked up like a smashed windscreen.Oh! It might be broken itself.Old cars have one thing in common, ru…

Two Home Bathrooms

German and Italian luxury automobiles in the driveway should not be a measure of wealth.Bathrooms should.A family’s peace does not depend on stick shift cars.It depends on the number of bathrooms.

The one and only is O.K. in movies about love and living happily ever after, not at home.The one and only bathroom has a multiplier effect: discord at the breakfast table, verbal ping pong in the car, sulking as wide as world wide web (www) and losing concentration at work or the classroom. The one and only bathroom is an enemy of family peace because it does not have a timer like the microwave oven or the stove.Even if it had, time allocation will be a problem, because some family members need more time to fix themselves than others.But is that fair?

The timer must also factor in the cell phone.There are certain texts or videos that cannot wait and the best place to send or view them is in the bathroom, away from the loving family. Then there’s nature, which cannot be controlled.This leads to t…

Name Calling

Birth names are carved in stone or in birth certificates.That is why Sean John Combs’ November 2017 announcement, that he has re-named himself ‘Brother Love’ made headlines. Joke, P. Diddy said a few days later, but the world took him seriously initially, because he has a history of changing his names.

Birth names are historical, to parents.Culture and religion determine how kids are named.It is also circumstantial.Some kids were named after movie stars and other entertainment figures.Others are named after favourite aunts and uncles.
Kids in Africa, China, India and wherever the British army and Jesus men landed, were given English names because the invaders could not speak indigenous languages.They hid that fact by calling them uncivilised. Despite all that, very few people consider doing a Diddy to their names.They might not be on good terms with their parents, but they never take that revenge route.It happens in fiction, like the character Wilson in The Precious One, a novel by Maris…

Look or Watch in Zulu

To look is bheka in Zulu, but it is mostly qualified: look up, look down, look this way or look after.It also means to watch for example, watching T.V.

Brides in most cultures are expected to look down on their way to the altar or the fire, if it is a Hindu shaadi.Grooms walk straight, heads held up high. Looking parents and older people in the eye, is regarded as disrespect in some cultures. Kim Jong-Un, supreme leader of North Korea and President Donald Trump are friends because they watch each other.

Bhe-ka.The first part is pronounced as in beg, the second part as in kamala, an Indian word.
ZULU ENGLISH Bheka. A boy’s name, meaning look. Bhekani. A boy’s name, meaning many people should look at something. Bheka mama.Ku-ya-netha. Look mama. It is raining. Bheka sisi.Ingane i-ya-cathula. Look sister.The baby is trying to walk. Bheka pha-nsi. Look down. Bheka phe-zulu. Look up. Bheka nga-pha. Look this way (photographers like saying that). Bheka ka-hle. Look thoroughly. Bhe-ki-si-sa. Look thoroughly.

Research and Development As A Polluting Factor

One earth. One humanity.The pollution of land and sea is the dividend when humanity tosses aside, the umbilical cord between the two.

The tendency to look for scapegoats, and not the cause and effect leads to the emphasis on plastic bottles, Styrofoam food trays, last year’s cell phones and drinking straws, as the major pollutants.
Research and development in all fields is a contributing factor because it is constantly researching better electronic gadgets, pharmaceutical products, automobiles, building materials, toasters and waffle makers, microwave ovens, toys, non-ageing creams, garden tools, or guns, in a nutshell, a better life. All these products cannot be recycled.They are not leaves that dry up, drop from trees and make the soil rich again. Incidentally, what constitutes a better life is subject to debate.

Research and development is two-pronged.It helps humanity solve problems, for example, various drugs that relieve pain and suffering.It also creates a need, and plastic bottles…

Two in Zulu

The first thing I learnt in French was how to count.Two is -bili in Zulu. Nature is fascinating, especially when we see two birds.There are millions of them out there, but these two decided to hang out and even have kids.

The crack of dawn is kwa-mabili.Ancient scientists in the land called Kwa-Zulu noticed that there is a point when day becomes night.That is why they called the crack of dawn kwa-mabili, literally meaning in-between two phenomena.
The English language says two’s company, three is a crowd.We have two eyes, two hands.There are two sexes: male and female.Nature favours two.Society also. He is a recluse, meaning he keeps to himself.But wait!Everybody is a recluse now, burying our heads in the sand, cellphone sand, that is. Bi-li, which means two.The first part is pronounced as in Bill, but as a soft -b-. DO NOT SAY bilingual.The second part is pronounced as in leek.

ZULU ENGLISH U-mama no-baba, ba-hamba bo-ba-bili. Mum and dad are walking together. Ba-ya-thandana.Ba-hamba bo-ba…

Phone X And Classic Movies

The new phone they call X is on the same page as classic movies.Madame X.Mr. X.Phone Operator X. etcetera. The X stands for power, as that evil guy in James Bond 007 movies.

Identity?Who is Mr. X.Not known.X movies then make a collage of fast cars, guns, electronics, cities and love scenes to nail X, which could be something evil, good or in-between.It takes a lot of air, road and finger mileage to pinpoint the X-ness of something.
Fingers in this case.Owners of Phone X are at a table next to you, probing, swiping, massaging, trying to find the X-ness.Camera phone?Who cares?It’s the selfie that matters.What is the X-ness of its selfie? X movies have a few car crashes, burning houses and dead bodies.Phone X is a thing so it might not come to that.Instead, parents and grandparents will be happy because they will inherit phones that came before Phone X, phones with ordinary numbers and not Roman numerals.

The phone’s name is also a reminder that it is only a mathematics genius that knows t…

The End of Credit Cards

Credits cards and colour. They are status symbols and not means of payment because they are old technology, dinosaurs actually.All your accounts are linked electronically, including credit cards, so you don’t need the plastic.

The ATM at the mall, phone or computer asks you about the account.From which account do you want to make the payment savings or chequing?Even table card readers, waiters bring to the table also have the credit card option, if you are paying by credit card.You just press credit.
All that could be in one card, let’s say your debit card.You don’t need credit cards whatever colour: gold, black, platinum or cobalt blue.Electronic banking made cheques redundant.It also made credit cards dinosaurs. But colour matters O.K.There are lovers to impress, business associates to impress, ex-wives to impress, waiters to impress, even political enemies you take out to dinner. You can’t produce a Mickey Mouse credit card.Membership has its privileges, a marketing strategy from one…