Archive for November, 2011

Eskom – wonder no more!

November 30, 2011

Hugh Paxton’s Blog got this beauty from Brigitte. Hot tip, stay away from South African power stations!

This is an actual sign with instructions for electricians to follow in case of a power failure at the Marikana sub-station.

Now we know why sub-stations blow up!!!!!!!!!!

Brigitte’s Pick: Indians are PRICELESS !!

November 30, 2011

Hugh Paxton’s Blog just got this in from our intrepid Namibian correspondent, Brigitte. Thanks B!

Spam’s off the menu

November 30, 2011

Hugh Paxton’s Blog is delighted to receive comments on posts and I do my best to answer them. If they are sent in Russian or German this is not always possible. But a lot of comments are being sent in recently by increasingly odd sources. I won’t list them all but the following sample will probably make my point.

Amish Buggy Rides loved my post but didn’t specify which one it was. I’ve watched Harrison Ford in the Witness movie, I know the Amish ride in buggies, but I also know that Amish dislike telephones and presumably aren’t spending one heck of a lot of time huddled round computers checking Hugh Paxton Blog updates. So where did this accolade come from?

Still on unusual religions, Shaker Furniture was really entranced by a post. The Shakers to my knowledge were mostly women, avoided sex and instead made furniture and thrashed and shook in a state of religious orgasmic ecstacy and for no surprising reason became extinct. Why the hell would a bunch of extinct Shakers like my Blog?

There were lots of people who sell real estate, they loved my blog;  there was a pretty handful of cosmetics purveyors; lots of roofers who might really come in useful if they are prepared to cover their own travel expenses from California to Bangkok to fix that irritating leak in my birdbox; and a lot of people who just had a first name and wanted to establish links.

As I surveyed this excitingly diverse parade I thought to myself,  “Hugh Paxton, are you wasting your time even looking at all this stuff?”

God stepped in. I was shown a sign!

The next message that popped up on the screen was from “Ramonculus Flowers”.

I shit you not!

Ramonculus Flowers!

BLOG ED NOTE: The name of Hugh Paxton’s novel  set in war torn Sierra Leone is Homunculus. Lots of rotting bio-warfare units, mayhem etc. but no flower salesmen.

I knelt in prayer and asked for Divine guidance.

“Delete anything and everything in your spam section that indicates

1. The sender hasn’t read an article

2. Hasn’t specifically referred to the article he she or it is commenting on

3. Blathers on about how great the blog is and what an insightful and brilliant piece of writing your stuff is and wastes your time or tries to sell you a wife from Cambodia or a larger penis.”

“Amen!” I responded.

So that’s the deal. Mass deletions of anything snagged in the SPAM. I know a lot of genuine messages will be snuffed out. But if you are really interested why not just subscribe to the blog. It costs nothing. Your message will get through. All will be well!




More on shark fin soup

November 29, 2011

An earlier Hugh Paxton Blog post applauded the decision to remove sharks fin soup from the menus of the luxury Peninsula Hotels chain (Asia’s oldest and most prestigious hotels group).  Other Asian hotels are reviewing their policies but so far the only ones to announce anything have been rather feeble. The Four Seasons has removed sharks fin from its menus but will serve it on request.

So no change there.

The Conrad, part of the Hilton group, and the Nikko and the Regal Hongkong hotels have opted to offer a choice of menus. One with sharks fin soup and the other without. Hugh Paxton’s blog in response to this brave moves offers readers two choices of verdicts – 1.pathetic or 2. plain damn silly.

Meanwhile on the streets of Hong Kong, the primary consumer of sharks fin (WWF estimates annual import at 10,000 tonnes), there is talk among fin vendors of an anti-Chinese Western plot to destroy Chinese culture.

There is also talk that makes even less sense.

“It’s not cruel at all killing sharks,” explains Chan, a fin trader on Des Voeux Road, adding evenly less knowledgably “There are so many sharks out there and if you don’t kill them they will kill you.”

Not everybody is so obtuse.

“Some people say shark fins are absolutely irreplaceable. But what happens when sharks become extinct or are illegal to catch? At the end of the day, we need alternatives [like birds nests].” This quote from Wong Waiman of Wing Hang Marine Products Ltd.

More than 180 species of shark were considered endangered in 2010 compared to just 15 in 1996. Between 73 million and 100 million are killed each year. The Peninsula Hotel group’s decision to kick the fin habit coincided with a European Union move to require all EU vessels operating anywhere, and all vessels fishing in EU waters regardless of their flags,  to abandon the practise of finning. Finning involves slicing off fins and returning the dying shark to the sea to save storage space.

To view images of finning check

Leonie’s view: Nando’s new ad campaign: The Last Dictator.

November 29, 2011

Hugh Paxton’s Blog has received incoming from another of our esteemed African women reporters. Over to Leonie!

Duck behind the sandbags is my advice.

Over to Leonie!

Hi all:

Follow this link – it’s safe except that you might hurt yourself laughing. :-)))

Make sure to appreciate PW and Idi as well. :-))


Soup! Glorious Soup!

November 29, 2011

Hugh Paxton’s Blog is very fond of cooking in general, and cooking  soup in particular. If you are cold and the snowflakes are falling, soup is warming. If it’s hot and sweat is dribbling into your eyes, soup is cooling. Jewish mothers are the staunchest advocate of soup (chicken) in cliche history. But Jewish mothers have no monopoly on knowledge. Soup sustains every nation, culture, race, religion, and class.

In March 2006, my sister kindly presented me with a copy of The Soup Bible, published by Lorenz books, an imprint of Anness Publishing Limited, Hermes house, somewhere in London. They’ve got a website.  The Consulting Editor is Drebra Mahew.

The Soup Bible has800 photos and over 200 recipes, hot and cold. Fiery and calming. Extremely heavy and comforting. Light and delicate, almost unoticeable. Surprising. And frisky.

Gumbos, bisques, Tuscan, Scottish, Chinese, Thai, English, Japanese, Mexican…lots.

Wherever in the world you have your soup bowl, this book’s highly recommended. I’ve not tried every recipe – the Hungarian sour cherry soup is scheduled (my daughter will hate it) and a few soups are quite frankly terrifying- but that’s part of the fun of the Soup Bible.

Stuck for Christmas present ideas? This is a good one. No matter how hot or white your Christmas is likely to be.



Brigitte’s Pick: “I love this word”

November 28, 2011

Hugh Paxton’s Blog just got this in from Brigitte, one of our African correspondents. Seems our correspondent isn’t entirely happy with the state of our world today. In this case I think she’s specifically referring to her native Namibia. Mind you, she could be referring to anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa.

Over to Brigitte!

I love this word. Finally, a word recently coined to describe our current political situation;

Ineptocracy(in-ep-toc’-ra-cy) -a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Thai Days: On the Wild Side

November 28, 2011

Hugh Paxton’s Blog has added a new link Bruce is a wildlife writer and photographer covering S.E.Asia. His latest offering is on gravely endangered Siamese crocodiles.Well worth looking at.

Thai Days: Lese Majeste

November 27, 2011

Hugh Paxton’s blog strongly suggests that residents of, or visitors to, Thailand famiarise themselves with the country’s laws regarding lese majeste and computer crime. Both laws are currently in the media and opular spotlight following the conviction of Ampon Tangnoppakul by the Bangkok Criminal Court. Ampon (61), a retired truck driver also known as Uncle SMS, sent four text messages to the private secretary of the then prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva. The messages were deemed to be offensive or insulting to the Thai monarchy and Uncle SMS was sentenced to five years in prison. Five years per message.

Lese majeste incidents are increasing in number; there were 478 cases brought to court in 2010, up from 107 the previous year.

Hugh Paxton’s Blog is not going to offer any opinions but would like to draw your attention to the fact that you don’t have to have personally written something derogatory or offensive to be convicted. Clicking ‘like’ on a Facebook post on the subject makes you guilty by association. So be careful. Uncle SMS Uncle Ampon’s got two decades ahead of him to wish he had been.

Thai Days: The green mamba.

November 27, 2011

This morning my daughter saw a green mamba attack a taxi. I assume the mamba, which is native to Africa not South East Asia, was an escapee from a private collector’s home inundated by floodwater. A lot of animals – tigers, crocodiles, the mambas – have got free over the last two months fuelling public consternation and hopefully a post flood strengthening of illegal wildlife legislation. 

The taxi was bringing my wife home from the international airport and was almost at our front doorwhen  the snake which had been basking in the road, took fright and tried to bite it. The attempt was brave, but unsurprisingly, failed. A little bit later the mamba got into a fight with two feral cats. A gardener broke it up and walloped the unfortunate snake with a club. End of incident. end of mamba.

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