Tag Archives: South Africa

On This Day…1 October

Friday, 1 October 2010

I welcome you to today’s installment of On This Day, the first one in the merry month of October. I know it should be the “merry, merry month of May,” but we do things differently in Ireland. Like bailing out banks to the tune of 29 billion euro. Yes, Anglo Irish Bank, I’m looking at you!

*Fumes*

Anyway, before I have a total canary, I’ll go straight to events on this day in…

959 – Edgar the Peaceable becomes king of all England. He succeeded Gerald the Bloodthirsty Warmonger.

1795 – Belgium is conquered by France, despite going 1-0 in the first half.

University of Capetown

1811 – The first steamboat to sail the Mississippi River arrives in New Orléans, Louisiana.

1829 – South African College is founded in Cape Town, South Africa; it will later separate into the University of Cape Town and the South African College Schools.

1880 – First electric lamp factory opened by Thomas Edison. What a bright spark he was!

The George Washington Bridge. (Image: paulscharffphotography.com)

1903 – Baseball: The Boston Americans play the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first game of the modern World Series.

1931 – The George Washington Bridge linking New Jersey and New York opens.

1946 – Mensa International is founded in the United Kingdom. I’m still waiting to see if they’ve accepted my membership.

1957 – First appearance of “In God We Trust” on U.S. paper currency. Just as well God isn’t a banker!

1971 – Walt Disney World opens near Orlando, Florida, United States.

1975 – Thrilla in Manila: Muhammad Ali defeats Joe Frazier in a boxing match in Manila, Philippines.

1989 – Denmark: World’s first legal modern same-sex civil union called “registered partnership.”

Birthday wishes go to:

Jimmy Carter, former American president and world-famous peanut farmer, is a dry roasted 86-years-old today.

Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music star Julie Andrews is 75.

Randy Quaid is 60.

And Irish pop singer and actor Keith (Boyzone) Duffy is 26.

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An Aardvark in South Africa: The Attack of the Vuvuzelas – Part Two

So many matches, so little time.

The “necessary documentation” I got from Acquisitions allowed me to teleport directly to Johannesburg for the opening ceremony. Us Higher Beings are not allowed to play willy-nilly with the laws of time and physics; Universal Travel Displacement Visas are required by all who wish to journey between dimensions. If this all sounds too Sapphire and Steel for you people, let me just say one thing: we took over from those clowns after the Thames Waterloo debacle. What was that? I hear you ask. Just one of those momentary lapses of reason that had to be sorted out. Trust me, you never ever want to see Napoleon Bonaparte dressed as a drag queen in Westminster Abbey. Your eyes would water. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, I was in South Africa.

The opening ceremony and the first game: the hosts, the mighty Bafana Bafana against Mexico, the country that decided it was a good idea to put a worm at the bottom of a bottle of Tequila. As opening ceremonies go, the South Africans matched that of the Olympiad of Ancient Greece. (I was around at the first one. I offered to give the poor marathon runners a ride on my Honda 50, but I was told that was against the spirit of the games. I was chased out of Athens by men in skirts, wielding spears and such.) There was colour, there was music, there was the sense of international camaraderie, of how sport would transcend politics, and there were vuvuzelas.

Love them or hate them, but you can't ignore themThere were lots and lots of vuvuzelas. During the ceremony I sent Jimbo a text. It’s mad here. All these horns going off. I can hardly hear myself think.

He replied back. They sound like mosquitoes. I’ve turned the sound down. By the way, what have you done with my Facebook account?

Nothing that I can’t undo when I come back, I texted back.

Bring me back a stick of rock, he replied.

Everyone in the stadium was full of the joy of life; but there was sadness there, too. The country’s patriarch, Nelson Mandela, was due to attend the ceremony but his great-granddaughter was tragically killed in a car accident days previously. South Africa mourned with him, as did I. It was hoped he would be around for the closing ceremony. But onto the match itself. The host nation wanted desperately to put on a good show for their many supporters and when Siphiwe Tshabalala buried the ball in the 55th minute, I could feel a continent uproot itself with cheering. The vuvuzelas made their presence felt. Unfortunately, a win was beyond the South Africans because Rafael Marquez equalised with ten minutes to go. A shame, really, but football is like that. It’s a funny old game; a game of two halves; a game were 22 men chase after a ball and if they don’t get it, they cry like babies. Sorry, that’s the French who do that.

I called HOH after the game, making sure he still wanted me to put that bet on. “Oh indeed,” he replied. “The word in the England camp is that Stevie Gerrard is chomping at the bit and Lampard is raring to have a go at the Yanks.”

“Fine,” I said. “It’s your gronag.”

The next match on the list was France against Uruguay. I decided to give that one a miss. My toenails needed a make-over. Besides, my own contacts said that the French didn’t give a merde.

Back in Ireland, the lads of Apres Match got together and petitioned FIFA to include the Republic’s soccer team in this year’s tournament. This is what they came up with.