This is specially posted for some of our blogging friends who are going through a rough patch.
You are in our thoughts and we believe that the best is yet to come. Hang in there!
Across the world there are now daily protests against the American troops stationed in foreign countries.
The latest spate of protests, and a spark in the latest killings of American troops, is the result of a couple of American soldiers in their military base throwing out a couple of confiscated Korans which were going to be burnt with the rest of the garbage. The Korans were saved from being burnt by some Afghan worker in the base.
The spark that was ignited by the news of the attempted burning has ignited a powder keg of resentment that has been building up in the Afghan people against a war that had been going on for the last ten years. They are tired of a government which cannot guarantee their safety or deliver any of the basic needs required to have a reasonable standard of living. The people also feel that the government is totally corrupt. The foreign troops are seen to be unsympathetic to their feelings and to be on the side of President Hamid Karzai who leads the inefficient and corrupt government. This has now resulted in the local population turning more and more to the Taliban who have for years been saying that the government and foreign troops are in cahoots to eradicate Islam in the Middle East.
Now we see thousands of Afghans streaming into the streets burning American flags (why not any of the other countries that also have troops there?) and shouting out that the American must all be killed!
What was to be an orderly withdrawal of all foreign troops by the end of next year after training Afghan troops, police and civil servants leaving behind a functioning democracy now seems to just a pipe dream. The unrest against all foreigners has united the local population in a common goal which in turn has resulted in chaotic violence destroying any chance of a peaceful withdrawal of the very troops they want to get rid of.
Western countries which have troops station in Afghanistan are being targeted and are powerless to stop the killing of their personnel by the very people they are supposed to be looking after. All civilian staff in the American, French and German military missions have been evacuated.
Now for those who follow history we have the making of another nightmare.
The French left Vietnam in 1954 after the battle at Dien Bien Phu where they really got their arses kicked by the communist forces. They were replaced by the Americans who really thought that after the Korean war they would be able to stop the communists from taking over in Vietnam. But in April 1975 it would be the turn of the Americans to beat a hasty retreat out of Vietnam with their tail between their legs. The evacuation culminated in Operation Frequent Wind, which was the largest helicopter evacuation in history. But that is another story for another day.
Now with protests against the Western Alliance spreading to other countries such as Pakistan are we going to see yet another hasty retreat by foreign troops? Is there any reason for them to stay in countries where the population don’t want them to be, should they not leave them to their own devices?
An interesting read can be found at :-
Moral Test….Read to the end before making a judgement.
This test only has one question, but it’s a very important one.
By giving an honest answer, you will discover where you stand morally.
The test features an unlikely, completely fictional situation in which you will have to make a decision.
Remember that your answer needs to be honest, yet spontaneous.
Please scroll down slowly and give due consideration to each line.
You are in London.
There is chaos all around you caused by a hurricane with severe flooding.
This is a flood of biblical proportions.
You are a photo-journalist working for a major newspaper, and you’re caught in the middle of this epic disaster.
The situation is nearly hopeless.
You’re trying to shoot career-making photos.
There are houses and people swirling around you, some disappearing into the water.
Nature is unleashing all of its destructive fury.
*** THE TEST: ***
Suddenly, you see a man in the water.
He is fighting for his life, trying not to be taken down with the debris.
You move closer… Somehow, the man looks familiar….
You suddenly realize who it is…. It’s the Muslim Cleric, Abu Hamza, the one-eyed, hook handed bastard who hates non-Muslims and wants the
UK to become an Islamic state!!
You notice that the raging waters are about to take him under forever.
You have two options:
1) You can save the life of Abu
2) you can shoot a dramatic Pulitzer Prize winning photo, documenting the death of one of the country’s most despised, evil and powerful men!
*** NOW THE QUESTION AND PLEASE GIVE AN HONEST ANSWER ***
Would you select a higher ISO to compensate for the light or,
would you change your settings to black and white for a more dramatic effect?
It is actually very scary as to what people get up to when there are dangerous animals that could in a flash change your entire outlook on life!
In Africa most animals or reptiles out in the open areas are very capable of terminating your existance here on earth without having to raise to much effort. The lion could leap onto its paws and take one leap right onto the roof of the Land Cruiser. The tourist would in that time not even be able to get his legs into the sun roof!
The other two tourists who are standing in the vehicle would not even have time to turn around to see the danger. One swipe from the lions deadly paw could easily break a humans scrawney neck as well as removing most of their face in the same motion. If the lion ended up inside the vehicle, the driver sitting there all casually would not have the time to reach for a firearm much less being able to use it.
So if you come to Africa – dont do stupid things like this. You (or what is left of you) could end up going back home in the cargo hold in a wooden box.
Published this one of a photographer and leopard doing stupid things as well the other day.
Paddy was over on holiday from Ireland on Bondi Beach, but couldn’t seem to make it with any of the girls.
So he asked the local lifeguard for some advice.
‘Mate, it’s obvious,’ says the lifeguard, ‘you’re wearing them old baggy swimming trunks that make ya look like an old geezer. They’re years outta style, Your best bet is to grab yourself a pair of Speedos about two sizes too small. And then drop a fist sized potato down inside ’em.
I’m tellin’ ya mate, you’ll have all the babes ya want!’
Everybody on the beach was disgusted as he walked by.
Covering their faces, turning away and even laughing, and some looking very sick!
So Paddy went back to the lifeguard again and asked him, ‘What’s wrong now?’
‘Hey … Maaaayte’ said the lifeguard, ‘the potato goes in the front!’
As a special treat I decided to take my wife out for supper last night. For once in my life I actually made reservations beforehand! I had travelled up and down Soutpansberg Road in Pretoria on numerous occasions and had never noticed a real gem of a restaurant right under my nose!
Viewing the restaurant from the road doesn’t give you any inkling of the absolutely enchanting venue that is really there. I approached the large entrance doors with great trepidation, although they were impressive, I was worried that the doors may have only been a front with no substance behind them. I needed have been concerned at all. It exceeded my wildest expectations easily.
The restaurant is tastefully laid out with ample space for anyone wanting to entertain your spouse or a larger gathering of friends. Apparently the restaurant can cater for groups up to 100 people at a time. We were seated right next to the fish pond with the muted sound of a waterfall in the background.
Out host and owner of the restaurant, Gideon, warmly welcomed us and personally looked after all our needs for the rest of the evening. Maryna the chief chef explained the various dishes to us and also popped out to see us during the meal to find if we were happy the food. The focus of the personnel ensured that we were well looked after and lacked for nothing.
In trying to explain to work colleagues this morning as to how I experienced the food, I actually ran out of superlatives! It was more of a gastronomic experience than a well prepared meal. The fusion of different styles in each of the dishes pampered our pallets to the extreme!
Starters consisted of pan seared scallops with Saffron Risotto, then pasta love letters with a delightful spicy Harissa Ostrich sauce which had just a hint of a bite in it. The main course was Fillet Mignon prepared in a vacuum to preserve the natural juices with Thai Lime and Orange Jus, served on a bed of sautéed Swiss Chard with (wild) mushrooms rounding it off. When trying to describe the main course as anything less than the ultimate best tasting food I have eaten in many, many years, I would not be doing it the justice it deserved. The desert was a great fusion of tastes with each one complimenting the next taste experience. As far as I can recall, it was Espresso Semifredo with a touch of Amarula Cream just rounding it off. The desert was consumed slowly, with many pauses between spoonful’s enjoying the various tastes, as you worked your way through the different ingredients. After this a plate with three different cheeses, plum chutney and warm fruit tart rounding off the meal. South Africa really does make some very good cheeses and we don’t have to stand back for any other country. The house wine was a Merlot which was a good choice with the meal.
Our host Gideon took me on a tour of the kitchen and I really liked what I saw. Here was a place that could inspire any chef to rise to great culinary heights.
I never got a chance to do a tour of the wine cellar, but this will have to wait until my next visit which should be mid July 2012 when my daughter comes to visit us.
My wife went to a funeral of a friend over the weekend and I didn’t go with due to being on a course, but while waiting for her return, I was reading an article and it had the following extract from “The Prophet”. Even though I have read it many times in the past, it just seemed to stick with me for some reason or the other. Maybe someone out there needs to read it, and possibly apply it to there lives. I don’t know….
An extract from “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran
You were born together and together you shall be for evermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness.
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone
Even as the strings of a lute are alone
Though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping
For only the hand of Life can contain your heart