Monday, May 30, 2005

Just Friends: A Scientific Study

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It is only God's considerable sense of humour that can have me read about this at G's and then later in the grey area between Sunday night and Monday morning be fielding a series of calls precisely on that subject matter: the famous "Let's just be friends" speech given when budding Romeos and Juliets part ways.

Annabel and Bill, having just broken up on what they fondly believe to be cordial terms, feel that M cannot possibly wait for Monday morning to be brought up to date on these developments. M quite happily goes out of his way to be scarce in these matters because he has an uncanny misfortune of being caught in the middle of such matters. However these matters catch up with him, and in quick succession he is appraised of developments.

The blow by blow description of events I confess passed me entirely by. I was busy painting the wall with my tongue, removing lint from my sweaters with tweezers and polishing my shoes with postage stamps. I only paid attention when she said

"So we've decided that we're just going to be good friends."

Considerable painful experiences have taught me to catch my laughter just before it bursts forth at the most inopportune moments so I exercised this power and caught it just in time.

The truth of the matter, ladies and gentlemen, is that there is no way in hell that people can be good friends after they have broken up from a romantic interlude. It is complete and utter hogwash, banana oil and bull -- er -- crap. My views were enforced even further when the fact came to light that it was Bill who had shot down the plane. Being in possession of XY chromosomes I can speak with complete authority on this matter from a male perspective.

Fact: There is no such thing as "good friends" after a breakup.

To understand fully, it is in order to understand the male mind.

In the course of his duties, interactions and general existence, the male of the species tends to meet a good number of the female of the species, of various ages, lifestyles, backgrounds etc. Naturally it is inevitable that relationships will be established with the females of the species as a result of this continuous interaction These relationships can be aggregated and classified into the following groups:

EThe Third Destiny's Child You exist, but are never really noticed
D AcquaintancesThe chap will nod his head in acknowledgement when you meet in a crowded room
CFriendsYou exchange greetings and pleasantries and when you say you'll call, you do (40% of the time at any rate)
BGood FriendsYou share a connection, and are open on all sorts of issues
AMother LodeNeo may think he is The One, but he is grossly mistaken, You're it

Be under no illusions. Think of all the men you know. Rest assured that such a table is in their head and you fall into one, and only one of these groups.

Typical group membership is as follows

EThe Third Destiny's Child 50%
C Friends15%
BGood Friends4%
AMother Lode1%

Naturally, the theory of dynamics comes into play. Continuous interaction with the females in his immediate environment leads to the inevitable motion of membership from one group to another. This motion follows clearly defined, predictable rules.

  • Motion is generally downwards, e.g from E to D, subject to a number of factors, chiefly time and proximity
  • Membership movement becomes more difficult the further down the chain you go. This it is easier for you to be moved to be E from D than it is from D to C.
  • From A membership is immediately to E, or at the very best, D. Only in extreme cases can movement be to C, depending on circumstances. (Explanation follows later)
Now come the nuances
  • There exists a very grey area between A and B. This is called the Twilight Zone.
  • For a particular man X, members of his Group A are generally suspicious of the members of Group B. This is why you will find him trying to explain to "Rachel is just a good friend" to an extremely sceptical significant other. This is because it is very difficult for the Group A members to believe that Group B members are not harbouring ideas.
  • Members of group C can skip directly to A, as well as progressing to B.
  • Movement to B can be occasioned by time, proximity and continuous interaction
  • Membership in B is generally fairly lengthy, and there is a possibility of movement to A
  • Movement to B from A is a very conscious, ruminated decision.
  • It is entirely possible to stay in B for an indefinite amount of time, due to you have being evaluated and found wanting of a critical criterion that will make you eligible for membership in A. These are the famous platonic friendships.
Then come the irritations
  • Certain stimuli can occasion movement of a candidate straight from E to A. These are chiefly:
    • Ocular (e.g. meeting Halle Berry)
    • Primal instinct (the infamous love at first sight)
    • Chemical (assorted malt and chemical products)
  • Such movement is generally unsustainable, contrary to the proliferation of romance novels and TV programs. Failure rates are almost 99.99%
  • Actions on your part can also result in indecision as to where you are placed. This can be especially noted between A and B, a region called the Twilight Zone where you are unsure of where you stand and so is he. Fellows in this predicament can commonly be found staring into space.
Factoring all this in, we can go back to our scenario, where the words "let us be friends" are uttered. From a strictly male perspective, the salient facts are as follows:

If he is saying these words to you in the process of showing you the door, then you are moved from A to C or maybe D. It is a good feeling for him to believe that you are around should he in the immediate future change his mind. Of course he will generally naively fail to factor in your reactions to the dismissal.

If he is being told these words as you break up with him there can be only two outcomes:
1) You are immediately precipitated in Group E, or F. If there is no F, one will be created. No attempts will be made to entertain you, your conversation or anything about you. You will be in Siberia. This course is taken when he sees no chance in hell of a reconciliation
2) You are not moved at all. He will agree to be good friends with you, but internally he shall be strategizing on how to change your mind. Hitherto hidden charms are pulled from shelves and dusted down in readiness for a full frontal assault. He will be the very epitome of a good friend all the while pursuing his case stealthily. This is because it is not possible to be just friends with someone who makes your heart skip a beat.

There is no other outcome.

Labouring under the happy delusion that you are the exception to the case is setting yourself up for disappointment at best or ugly scenes at worst, that will manifest themselves as phone calls, drunken or otherwise, at one in the morning or requests to "try again".

This is contrary to ridiculous notions perpetuated by generations of Mills And Boon, Days Of Our Lives, Lives Of Our Days and other ludicrously unrealistic romance novels and soap operas that have polluted generations of male and female minds. Even the Neanderthal man whose advances were rejected would summarily clobber the Neanderthal Woman.

Correspondingly the Neanderthal Man who rejected a Neanderthal Woman would at best have something slipped into his roast beast that would render him lifeless or at worst have things whispered to his enemies that would have him skinned by the time the evening torch was lit.

Breakups fondly imagined to be mutual are also not exempt from this behaviour. This is because it is an established fact that in every liaison there is always the lover and the loved. Very rarely are these on equal terms.

And no, your case is not special, no matter how much you think it is.

Hopefully this will clear up this matter, at least as far as the human Male's perspective is concerned, and let me get a good night's sleep!


President Mwai Kibaki has the sneaking suspicion that someone is wearing his suit. And his shirt. And his socks. And his shoes....


Be careful of where you place heads and dots on your magazine cover, as Parents Magazine can testify

New Kids On The Blog
Snow - Informer

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


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Each and every last man on this planet can be absolutely and totally classified into one of two camps
(a) Those who prefer Beyonce

(b) Those who prefer Kelly

Of course there are some who prefer Usher, but that is nether here nor there.

Last night a heated debate amongst us (and people in neighbouring tables) led me to realize that there is yet another way to split all the men, and even the women in this world into two camps, with respect to their significant others having something extra along the side.

(a) The Mario Clique

Like Mario, Alex is a firm member of this group. Over his Gin and Tonic he lucidly explained that if the gardener sowed elsewhere other than his garden and got to his flower he would not want to know about it. Whether it was a slip or not, the effects of too much sun and too much frothy stuff or it deliberate, he did not want to hear confessions, teary or otherwise, about it. In this case he could happily dispense with honesty. His rationale was that receipt of that information was unlikely to change the price of tomatoes and would completely ruin things altogether.

Some heads nodded sagely around the table.

"I mean, what good will it do?" He wanted to know. "All that will happen is that I will be annoyed for weeks on end and I will never be able to trust her for as long a we're together so in short the whole affair will come to a speedy end. Some skeletons are best left in the closet. If she cheated then she should shut her mouth about it."

With finality he polished off his gin and tonic, set glass down on the table and looked languidly around the table.

(b) The Eamon Crew

Bill's explosion of outrage at Alex's sentiments brought a concerned manager rushing forward. I've never actually seen someone frothing at the mouth but after one look at Bill's face, twisted with emotion allowed me to cross another item out of my extensive list of things to see. Bill left little doubt that he was in complete and total agreement with Eamon

"Have you," he begun after an incoherent burst, "... lost your doggone MIND?"

Christine was in total agreement, and so moved was she that she knocked over her Vodka with a passionate elbow. "You guys are freaking kidding! The instant he plays me out the door the dog goes. Out! Out! Out! Nothing to discuss, nothing to argue."

Derrick attempted to know if sorrow would change their minds but he was left in no doubt that the only thing that would change their minds was a brain transplant.

"How on earth are you still with someone that has told you she's gone elsewhere? Let her go! If she's so happy there kick her out the door!"

From past experience it is always at the height of these debates that someone suddenly notices my presence (that i've been trying to hide) and actively seeks my opinion. No amount of surreptitious manoeuvring in anticipation of this has ever saved me.

"M! Stop hiding behind that menu! What do you think?!"

As I opened my mouth to answer it occurred to me I hadn't thought about it too deeply at all. There are some things that you'd rather not think about and for me this is one of them. I suspect I'll walk out and never look back but one never knows unti one is actually dancing with the wolves. Just how does one handle infidelity?

"There is an ulterior motive in the Lucy Kibaki case. The journalist presented the case on Friday and on Monday they were in court! There must be a hidden agenda."
Attorney General Amos Wako

Doctors and nurses DO NOT have the luxury of going on strike!

The Beatles - Norwegian Wood

Monday, May 23, 2005

Gunners 4 Life

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Can you say "YEAH BABY"!

Much as Manchester United played better, the Carling Cup game between Liverpool and Chelsea is another illustration that winning a game and winning a match are not always the same thing. Jens Lehmann quite literally saved the team, during the 120 odd minutes of the game AND the penalties.

My man of the match - Jens Lehmann.

And to all those Man U goons who disturbed my peaceful enjoyment of our victory --NEXT SEASON, MY SONS AND DAUGHTERS! NEXT SEASON!

And speaking of Man U, o ye fans had better be concerned if you will ever get to next season. Malcolm Glazer could turn Old Trafford into a potato farm if he were so inclined. He could issue instructions for the team to buy themselves some nice tutus and become an ice skating team. In fact next season we could see Keane and Scholes on hands and knees saying "pil first, back pil pinkie" in a thrilling game of marbles.

Still, you could end up playing cricket. Or pie throwing. Or hop scotch. One has nothing if not hope.

How Jose Antonio Reyes manages to alternate between being a genius and a schmuck will require quite the research. On retrospect it was wise to rest Sol Campbell -- he could not have lasted 120 minutes. I wonder if the game would have gotten to extra time had Venger rested Fabregas and put Van Persie, Reyes and Bergkamp to trouble Rio Ferdinand and his lads from the very beginning. I wonder how it might have been with Henri on the pitch.

But props where they are due -- Wayne Rooney is lethal now but will be an assassin in a couple of years (unless of course he becomes another Michael Owen). Lauren was clearly unable to handle Christiano Rolando, despite great efforts, and it showed. That's another phenom right there in the making.


One of the few occasions a man can hug another without raised eyebrows

Creed - My Own Prison

Friday, May 20, 2005

Some People Are More Equal

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Attorney General Amos Wako is a man you are unlikely to miss. His trademark smile, cheerfully exposing his 78 teeth to observers, will have a strong case should there be pressure for a 9th wonder of the world.

I have only heard this gentleman laugh once, and it was an experience I highly recommend for anyone with nostalgia of days of yore. This chap laughs like a schoolboy that has been discovered in a girl's changing room.

The source of his good cheer is not hard to discern. He has cheerfully been discharging his duties for donkey, dog, rabbit and monkey years. His pin stripe suit is his uniform of choice. Two presidents have paid his salary, and if he goes on this way, so will the next.

Why? Because Amos knows how to play the game a lot more than the game knows itself, and recent developments this week have brought that to light.

The first is the case revolving around Lucy 'Trinity' Kibaki and Clifford Derrick, who rues the very day he picked up his camera. For those of us short of memory, Clifford was slapped upside the head as he discharged his duties on national TV, and then on to international TV as two senior policemen and a host of junior policemen watched impotently.

Had it been a mere mortal doing the slapping, said mere mortal's behind would be behind bars quicker than MPs can hike their own salaries. Before your behind would be tossed unceremoniously into the back of a police Land Rover, boots would attempt to modify the shape of your head as a lesson for you, for which you were expected to give thanks.

However since it was not a mere mortal, pesky things like constitutions and rules of law did not apply. Lucy went back to State House, car and staff fuelled by Clifford Derrick's hard earned and reluctantly paid taxes, and probably enjoyed a breakfast of tea, chicken, pineapples and chocolate biscuits, washed down with strawberry flavoured potato soup.

Clifford Derrick went home stung in more ways than one and presented his case at court a week later. His lawyer had just greeted the judge when Amos and his merry men, in their traditional pin stripe suits and remarkably toothy grins arrived noisily and tossed the case out on its backside, ostensibly because they had not been given time.

The case of the KWS warder was another. Lord Delamare's grandson Tom allegedly shot and killed a Kenya Wildlife Service warder in the course of his duties. Many were impressed with the speed at which Tom was arrested and bundled into the back of a police pick-up.

Two weeks later it became clearly apparent that there are apparently two prison systems, one for criminals and the other for VIPs.

When the lorry delivering prisoners to court arrived and Tom and his fellows got off it became clearly apparent that some animals were more equal than others.

While the mere mortals were dressed in their traditional striped uniforms, and appeared to have breakfasted on hot water and weevils, Tom was the very picture of elegance, replete with suit, tie and combed hair. Under his arm was the day's paper. He had the contented smile of a man who has taken on sausages, bacon, fried eggs, toast, fruit juice and an apple, and won the battle after an epic struggle.

Again, behinds had just been lowered into seats when Amos' right hand man, Phil 'The Pill' Murgor, arrived grinning and proceeded to throw out the case. It was heard bouncing down the court stairs. Apparently, after an exhaustive analysis of the two page file, his boss Amos had found the evidence wanting and decided to throw out the case.

That the audience and even the judge were unimpressed was clear to all and sundry.

The defence lawyers were about to object on reflex until it sunk through to them that the prosecution had just shot themselves in the foot. They quickly consulted their notes and each other to confirm whether they were the prosecution or the defence.

Puzzled at the turn of events, and making a mental note to leaf through Law School notes and see if it was in order for the prosecution to do the work of the defence, and the ramifications of that on defence lawyers as a while, the judge was forced to throw the case out.

Tom nodded sagely, airily waved goodbye to his travel mates and left in a Land Rover Discovery. As he drove past the Land Rover Defender 110 that he came in, he came to the conclusion on the whole that it was a nice adventure to tell the lads over a nice pipe and a glass of gin and tonic. And that pesky Helmsley kept saying that he didn't go out much! This would show him!

Did I mention Tom admitted to having shot the ranger?

Amos and his merry men and women were patting themselves in the back, confident that their tenure at office had just gained another boost.

And the mere mortals who fondly believed that NARC stood for change and upholding the rule of law slowly realized that the law only applies to those who live in Korogocho and its sister establishments. Those who live in Muthaiga or in farms big enough to require a plane to cross are not bothered by such pesky things as laws, rules and regulations.

What more will it take for Kenyans to realize that in voting in Mwai Kibaki and his fellow fossils they were actually screwing themselves royally?

The whole affair beggars a couple of questions

  • Why did Amos Wako send his immediate deputy all the way to Nakuru, and he already has local representatives
  • What was he doing examining the evidence in the first place even before the case had begun
  • Why didn't he let the court case run its course, and issues of lack of evidence arise there?
  • Why is the prosecution doing the defence's work?
  • If lack of evidence is something the AG feels so strongly about, what were they doing going after Kamlesh Pattni for a 10 year old murder with no witness and no evidence?
  • How come so many big fish are being let off for that very excuse: Tom, Somaia, Oluga
  • Since when did the Government begin standing up for murder suspects?
  • If the police are confident of getting a conviction, what is the AG's problem?
  • Is the AG the most powerful man on Kenya, now that he has shown he can terminate any case, including those against himself. at whim?
Apparently lacking money and land in my own country makes me a second class citizen.

Again I ask, what more will it take for Kenyans to realize that in voting in Mwai Kibaki and his fellow fossils they were actually screwing themselves royally?

The Gado Cartoon doctored to make it more accurate (Click To Zoom)

Jay-Z - Moment Of Clarity

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Name's Al. Al Koholic

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A Lad's Night Out is something that I generally look forward to with what can best be described as mixed feelings. Why? Because by the time I get home with the morning milk, I will have had an excellent time with my best friends. I will have participated in banter, friendly arguments and story telling sessions. I will have made short work of meat roasted over an open fire. I will have stretched a limb or two. I will have been party to confessions that would not have otherwise been made. I will undoubtedly have had an excellent time.

But at the same token I will have prevented someone from shedding their trousers, I will have apologized profusely to unaccompanied maidens as well as accompanied maidens for - ah - ungentlemanly activities carried out by some of my lads, I will have stopped someone from trying to fly. I will have broken up fights over someone standing too close to someone else's beer. I'll have stopped someone from spending another half hour looking for his beer by pointing out that the said beer he is looking for high and low is actually in his hand. I will have prevented someone from removing the head of one of my friends for making an indecent proposal to his significant other (or him). I will have delivered gentleman in various levels of intoxication home to wives, girl friends and room mates.

Why, you ask? Because come 11 in the evening of one of these escapades I am generally the only one who is sober. Out of a table of assorted bottles, brown and clear, there will generally be a glass containing a dark liquid. This innocuous dark liquid will generally be coke, and the strongest thing I will put in it is lemon. This is generally because I don't drink. This is because
  • I'm perfectly aware of the things I keep inhibited, and for the good of fellow man, they should remain inhibited
  • I'm daring enough as it is when sober. What I would do under the influence I shudder to imagine
  • The thought of not being in full control of my faculties is terrifying
  • I come from a long line of drinkers and the first hand effects I have seen are sobering in more ways than one
Which is not to say I am against drinking. There is nothing wrong with it. I'm all for it. But not for me. As a matter of fact, I will be the one buying rounds of the more exotic drinks for my lads and comrades, the gentlemen I would give my kidney for. My knowledge of the more exotic eastern European vodkas made from potatoes and that are almost 150% proof is pretty good.

The evening becomes extremely interesting after the waiter has brought round the round of tots for my lads. Let's call them Abel, Bob, Chris, Dan, Eric and Fred.

Without hesitation Eric and Fred will invariably raise unsubstantiated allegations that I am attempting to poison them. Curiously they will have shed their suit coats and ties and will already be halfway through their tots, smacking their lips with enjoyment. The other four will follow much more cautiously and in no time glasses all round will be empty and relaxation will practically be painted in the air. Abel, Bob and Chris are strictly beer men. They view spirits as chemicals. They bemoan that spirits lack the character of coming from the finest hops, hand picked and lovingly brewed to yield rich, filling tastes. Spirits are to be tolerated.

Dan is a man who treats spirits with apprehension. He is under no illusion that when livers were being given out he was playing outside so when he came in he got a piece of chewing gum instead.

It is widely acknowledged that between them, Eric and Fred have six livers between them, as well as a few dozen kidneys.

At this juncture task forces will be formed to see to the meat and another to the barley products. Dan, being the one with the engaging smile and persuasive tone is dispatched at the barmaids/barmen (delete as appropriate) to ensure our orders are processed are delivered first. Eric, lacking said smile but possessing a frame that is even more persuasive is dispatched to find the best goat/cow/game meat (delete as appropriate).

An hour later the air of camaraderie and goodwill is hard to top. Good cheer flows like taxpayers' money to minister's pockets. Good food, cold drinks, excellent music, good friends, flowing conversation -- yes sir, life is good.

A waiter is called. Orders are dispatched. A constant stream of drinks arrives. Pretty soon I am the only one capable of saying "the large red lorry rolled down the wrong lonely road". It is at this juncture that things become interesting.

Eric will look across the room and spot a nice young thing that he will be anxious to introduce himself to. Protestations that he has a nice young thing at home already waiting for his intoxicated behind are like asking Kiraitu Murungi to straighten his mouth. He will arise and make his unsteady way across the room. Eric will pay no attention to the beefy gentleman with his arm around the pretty young thing and go ahead to pitch his case. So convinced will be be of his charms that he will neglect to be rid of his wedding band.

Needless to say Eric will generally return at best cursing and at worse cursing rubbing his cheek, a token from the aforementioned beefy gentleman.

A round later Dan will turn and look fondly at me through a drunken haze.

"M," he says, clearly touched. "M, you're a good man. Have I ever told you that? You're a good man." He will clap me heartily on the back and turn to the rest. "Wouldn't you say so?"

A drunken unanimous agreement would issue, and my health will be drunk in another round.

Marriage must be a very strong institution to survive some of the spears hurled at its fabric. In almost all establishments some of the clientèle are not there in the capacity of consumers, but suppliers of what Dan calls "a complimentary and supportive industry". Players in this industry can be identified by their attire, where the low cuts of their tops are attempting to meet the high cuts of their skirts. Dan and Abel in particular are remarkably adept at spotting these and soon we are knee deep in these service providers.

From past experience again, protesting is futile. My pointing out that they will have some difficulty in explaining to wives and girlfriends just what the heck they were doing buying Crystal, Monique and Chantral drinks has little effect on them. They fondly believe as long as they do not sample charms of said merchants they are in the clear.

A round later Abel will decide it is time we graced the floor. This is where my apprehension begins. It takes everyone five minutes of climbing over chairs, climbing over each other and stepping on everything en route to get onto the dance floor. It is here that patrons sitting by the floor get treated to a variety of side shows. Abel is in it for the love of the game, and watching him at work is the classical struggle of alcohol and gravity over free will. Bob does not hide that he is here for some female company and will insert his frame before one. He will not be troubled if said female is already dancing with someone else. Chris will repeatedly tread on toes and increase the number of people who wish him ill.

Several irate patrons, furious boyfriends and outraged lasses later, I will convince my lads that it would be an idea for us to be homeward bound, what with the late hour and all. I will be driven to these extremes when the rate of offences is markedly higher than that of apologies.

Dan, who was singing my praises not half an hour previously will object strongly. My suggestion as a whole is extremely unpopular but I can be persuasive when I have to be. Pretty soon the irate patrons would reach quorum to descend upon us like Njeru Ndwiga on a tax waiver.

If the establishment is one on the ground floor, like the Carnivore, things are smooth. However, if it is a place like K2, there is almost invariably drama. Bob in particular is a notorious culprit. Drinking affects his ocular senses more than most, with the direct result he sees life the way one would see the animals boarding Noah's ark -- in twos. He this invariably would see two staircases, and obeying an innate drive to conserve energy, will opt for the nearest one.

The immediate result would be this breadwinner and budding father would descend to the next floor in a clatter of arms, legs, keys, ties, wallets and shoes. He have never broken or sprained anything, testament to his overworked Guardian angel.

Halfway to the car Chris will remember an unfinished sip of his Johnny Walker and will insist on returning to finish it. He will inform me that he would be disgraced if he, Chris, wasted a drink that I, M purchased for him. I will then try to reassure him that no, it is fine.

Past experience has shown that pleading with Chris is like a cameraman pleading with Lucy Kibaki. It has also shown that after half an hour we have to go back looking for him and rescue him from irate patrons who object to his inquiries as to whether they have seen his drink. We invariably find him arguing with an enormous bouncer with hands folded across his (the bouncer) enormous chest beginning to unfold in readiness for duty.

During all this Fred will be at the bar ordering a bottle of beer, pocketing it and reacting with surprise and annoyance objections raised b the establishment staff that he is taking away their property. Fred demands to know why. "Have I not," he inquires passionately, ".... bought and paid for my drink?"

Half an hour later we will be on our way, having used my best Koffi Annan to get ourselves out without too much ugliness (minus the beer).

Almost invariably halfway through the journey, popular opinion will dictate our gracing another establishment ...

<disclaimer> Much as this is in tongue in cheek, you get the gist. In their defence there are those of my friends who know how to hold their drink (some frighteningly so) and those who do not drink at all. Both of them that is. However I still stick to my guns. I urge you to cross the floor majestically and join me in supporting the motion that says "Kenyans drink more than is good for them"</disclaimer>


President Mwai Kibaki hopes his most recent cabinet reshuffle shuts up those calling for younger ministers.
Left To Right: Finance, self, Trade, Comptroller and security. Being carried on extreme right is Communications and being carried behind him Foreign Affairs

Alicia Keys - Diary

Friday, May 13, 2005

Sports Nuts

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On my way to work I had a chat with a small boy as he hobbled painfully towards his establishment of learning. A few minutes of friendly banter had me discover that he was limping due to a football injury sustained in the course of duty for his school. The exact nature of the injury brought back a few bits of nostalgic memory.

Years ago when I was a blissful high school boy, sports was not just sport. Sport was a religion. You were nothing without your sport. In particular, the male High School Boy was wanting to the extreme if he did not play at least one of the following:
  • Rugby
  • Basketball
  • Football
Things like volleyball, cricket, tennis, etc were not considered sports. They were as a matter of fact, novelty pastimes. In the pecking order of sporting glory, they were just above hopscotch, cops and robbers and marbles (but there was a time marbles made a popular comeback)

Personally I was firmly in the category of rugby. There is something to be said about running suicidally towards 15 beefy gentlemen who are hell bent of ploughing you right into and beneath the soil. You could always tell these -- they had a peculiar stiff legged gait (prevent bloody knees from sticking to trousers) and stiff arm motions (prevent bloody elbows from doing the same). The usual cuts and bruises from rugby spikes would decorate the rest of the person.

However, much as we were at risk of losing large expanses of skin as well as spraining and breaking assorted limbs, we always considered ourselves more fortunate then our brethren at the soccer pitch. This is because it was entirely possible for them to stop a strongly swung soccer boot with nothing more than their shorts, their boxers / briefs/ y-fronts (delete as appropriate) and last and certainly not least, an extremely sensitive areas we will call the cojones.

The one vivid memory I have of my days in Standard 3 was undergoing precisely this experience. My best friend at the time, Allan was attempting to kick a ball in front of me, and just before he did I would nudge it to the side. This went on for quite a while until in a lapse ii failed to nudge it enough and it ended up right before me. Allan swung at his intended target and missed, after a fashion that is. Even now, some decades later the experience is almost fresh in my mind. Even in my tender years, it was like being hit by a Concorde whose front is decorated with assorted nails, screws and barbed wire, and for good measure, the whole contraption is connected to a live wire.

Needless to say, relations between us were strained for a while. But I digress.

On the soccer pitch, the chances of an opponent striking at a ball and ending up personalizing issues and striking yours were very high. If there is bad blood between opponents, this risk increases in orders of magnitude. After watching several soccer matches from the safety of the sidelines (soccer was not my thing) I observed a common pattern.

Matters would generally revolve a ball descending towards the earth and two opponents attempting to kick it at the same time. Generally feet would collide but if one opponent was faster, or one was recovering from a night at the Carnivore, the timing would be off and someone would get kicked in the cojones.I interviewed a number of victims and came up with the following general flow
  • You attempt to kick a ball
  • Someone inadvertently or otherwise, kicks you where you should not be kicked
  • You feel like a pair of claymore mine have gone off in your shorts and now termites in soccer boots take up residence in your shorts
  • Every last of your faculties, including breathing ceases operations
  • Motor functionality stops (including balance)
  • Excruciating agony, second only to Hell
  • You fall to the earth
Now, what would happen next would depend on circumstances.

If it was a boy's school, or such an environment that had no females present, you were at liberty to grab at your jewels. All play would stop, even if a goal was but a second away, as all the players, referees, audience and passing males would commiserate deeply with you feeling your pain agony.

If, however, there was at least one female present, you were NOT, repeat NOT to grab at your jewels. You could grab at anything else. An unofficial convention was that you were to grab at your head with both hands, signalling to all the state of affairs.

You would then be carted off the field to begin the healing process. This ranged from a few minutes to a couple of days.

If Paris had done his homework, he needn't have wasted an arrow going after Achilles' Heel.

The price of having a half hour conversation with A, oceans and continents away at 6 in the morning? Priceless

En Vogue - Hold On

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

It Shouldn't Be This Hard - I

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Kenya is composed of 31 million. 30,999,740 of these are human beings. The remaining 260, while closely resembling human beings, are nothing of the kind. I'd call them beasts of the field but even swine and bovines would object to such a crass generalization so I shall call them what they are normally called, MPs.

Out of those 30,999,740, let's say half of them are supported by the other half, either by parentage, guardianship or other such relationships, voluntary or otherwise. In summary, 15 million of us support the other 15 million, providing food, shelter, clothing, education and medication, as well as tickets to Shaggy Concerts. Those 260 provide the 30 million with hot air and manure, so we cannot say they are totally useless. But ii digress.

It is jolly hard waking up at 6 in the morning, getting to work, working and going back home. You risk being kicked, stepped on and pushed. You risk stepping on substances that have only recently left the confines of a dog. Your risk being splashed on murky water by passing motorists. You risk getting run over by said motorists.You risk having thoughtful Kenyans relieving you of the contents of your pockets and handbags. You risk arriving at your office and find someone sitting at your desk with your property neatly piled on the the floor by the door. You risk getting typhoid from tap water.

In summary -- life is not easy (at least for 31 million less 260 of us). This we have come to expect. Adam and Eve had a picture perfect existence reclining happily in their nakedness and watching Chris Murungaru's sheep gallivanting with his goats, watching lions laying with the lambs, but they had to go on and ruin things by craving fruit salad and here we are, struggling through day and night as we rush towards old age.

Life is hard, but what we DO NOT NEED is it being made needlessly much harder for us by people like

The Nairobi Water Board

Those of us who don't live in Muthaiga generally share the same fate as those who live in Korogocho. When it comes to filling 50 litre containers I can modestly say in a competition I would come first, second and third. The taps in my house have become a woodwind orchestra. They produce nothing but whistling. The tank at the top of my house is dryer than Kiraitu Murungi's resevoir of wit. The only two taps that work are directy connected to the mains and even then that is no guarantee that they will produce water.

To make things interesting, water comes at seemingly random times, to relieve the monotony of continous water supply. The times chosen by these gracious officials generally tends to be 2 AM in the bloody morning. Solid bonds have been made between men and women of goodwill dozing sleepily as water trickles into their buckets, tanks and assorted containers. Couples have met over the water bucket. At two in the morning no one is in the mood to put on sophisticated acts so people are themselves. They appear in their pyjamas, night dresses, different slippers and brown stockings on their heads. Those who do not wear stockings on their heads appear in their real hair, if any. It is failry common to see good ladies blissfully fetching water with veneers of cucumber on their faces and gentleman in what look suspiciously like high school P.E. shorts doing the same.

Next to taxes, death and asinine politicians, nothing is more certain than the bill arriving from these clowns. Without fail you will find that white stapled letter in your mail just before the end of the month. They will expect prompt payment, and actually use words to that effect for the bill, for services that they appaarently rendered.

Last month I personally went to their offices to settle the bill. They were unwilling to accepty my argument that since they pretened to provide water it was only fair for me to pretend to pay the bill. This was at their office in in Town Center, but when I complained about the supply they informed me that the people in South B with water complaints should take up the matter with their Karen offices.

This month I have a suprise for that snide clerk and her immediate supervisior. I shall pay the bill entirely in 50 cent coins. I'm also going to enlist the services of mine Pater and get his advice as to the bigget water pump I can get my hands on


If you look in a modern thesaurus under audacity, Safaricom will feature prominently. It takes quite some cojones to offer a service, allow customers to request said service, attempt to render service, fail to render service and then go on to charge the customer anyway. That's right. Safaricom will merrily tell you that they were unable to deliver your messages but they will go on to charge you.

This leaves me speechless. It actually tells you message not delivered but your balance has dipped.

Once in a while I could let slide. But daily, or every other day? No way. On Tuesday alone I lost 11 internatinally bound SMSes. That's 110 bob up in smoke in just one day.

Perhaps if ii put it in figures. Safaricom has round about 350,000 customers. Assuming each loses one SMS a week in this fashion, and a local SMS is 5 bob, then in one week Michael Joseph and his merry bunch have made a clean 1,750,000/- or doing precisely nothing In a month that's 7,000,000/-. And in a year that's 84 million shillings.

Now, that is a best case scenario. For Safaricom at any rate. I can wager that everyone loses an SMS a day. So that's 12,250,000/- a week and 49,000,000 a month. In a year our friends in Lincoln Green could pocket 588,000,000/- a year on those dud SMSes. That's right, 600 million shillings for doing precisely and absolutely nothing. Damn thieves! Robbing the poor to pay the rich.

Then they have the temerity to donate money to good causes like the Lewa Marathon and the Sportsman of the Year awards, ostensibly tightening their belts in support of good causes. With money sourced for doing absolutely nothing, donations are not a problem!

The only emails that Safaricom will answer are those asking for prices. Ditto with phone calls. Anything else is ignored. If you want to be told "thank you for wasting five minutes of my life that I will never get back" in a sweetly seductive voice just call Safaricom customer care. But I shall solder on and keep you posted.
If your system is smart enough to tell it did not deliver the service, why the heck isn't it smart enough not to deduct my damn money?

I am strongly tempted to write a program that will dial customer care and either hang up immediately or read to them the contents of a file of my choice. I just happen to have War And Peace in a text file. Or one of Mwai Kibaki's speeches. As soon as they hung up it will dial again. And again. That ought to irritate them at least half as much as their bollocks service irritates me.

In the meantime I shall see what the CCK think of this, and if indeed they have a spine. And teeth.

A Ghetto Cowboy prepares to do his thing shortly before hospitalization with stomach troubles from partaking too much from the pleasures of the dining table


Craig David - Fill Me In

Monday, May 09, 2005

Beauty And The Beasts (Of Burden)

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Much as I can run pretty fast, I really need to work on my start up time. If I were a car I'd have a top speed of 300km/h but my catalog would say 0-60 in ten minutes. This is the only explanation I can think of that will explain why I keep getting caught in debates I'd rather not have.

My dude K is on the exalted path to married bliss but one could not know this by looking at him. We (self and 2 other lads) were deeply concerned. He had the look of a Saddam Hussein in a pit of George Bushes and Condoleezza Rices. K, being a gentleman of extraordinarily good cheer, generally was never in such a state so I waited patiently for him to unfold his tales and woes. After some cups of coffee with something Russian in them he let loose his troubles in a passionate and eloquent burst.

His problem was not his Pearl. He loved and adored his Pearl. He was willing to climb Mount Kenya, cross River Nile and meet Lucy Kibaki for his Pearl. His problem was Father of Pearl and five Uncles of Pearl. The aforementioned relatives of pearl seemed to have gotten the mistaken impression that he was a rich and prosperous cattle rancher, and thus asked for assorted bulls and heifers, billies and nanny goats so that they could hand over their beloved to him. They also wanted enough money to buy a good second hand car.

His protesting that he was a relative nobody whose job consisted of balancing books and his transport was generally that of the communal nature left then unmoved. Unless they took delivery of said livestock, said Relatives of Pearl, he'd be better advised to find someone cheaper.

The cups at Java House are pretty strong so the one he was holding survived the clenching of his ample fist around it. That he was moved was beyond question. We were feeling his collective pain when suddenly two of my lads hurriedly wolfed down scalding tea and left leaving me and K. A minute later it became apparent when suddenly we were outnumbered by enthusiastic and cheerful females who filled the table and the next one.

Collective intuition saw through our masks of impassivity and the salient facts where dragged out. A firebrand turned to me and sought my opinion. This I gave without the slightest hesitation.

I think dowry is the most ridiculous concept I have ever heard

The waiters who rushed downstairs to fight what they thought was a sudden fire went back up gratefully when they realized it was merely outrage. I can't remember all of what was said, chiefly because there were several outraged voices talking at once at very high volume. But the more pressing questions were:

Typical! It's just because you probably can't pay the dowry!
Granted the best I can offer Aida's folks if were fortunate enough to get round to that stage right now is a couple of cats and a few rabbits. But that is not why I am against it.
How else can you prove your commitment to her?
Probably the fact that I asked her to marry me, and spend the rest of her natural life with me is a pretty good indication of my commitment. But that's just me
You need to prove that you can support her
Well, first of all asking me to empty my savings will precipitate me in an even worse position than before, and we will be reduced to buying five loaves and two fish. And in any case isn't the whole idea taking care of each other?
It's tradition
No offence to anyone, but there are a whole boatload of bollocks traditions that we have today that need to be done away with.
But you have to thank the parents for bringing her up
I agree that the folks must be given their due props. But why exactly is paying large sums of money the best way to do this? Trust me, I am deeply grateful.

If anything, I believe the whole concept does more harm than good. Much as we have come along way we all know that there are men among us with the most primitive ideals about women. The notion of making him pay to marry his wife still further reinforces his misguided notion that she is bought and paid for and is thus his property. Handing over cows and goats and money is proof of absolutely nothing.

The whole concept just perpetuates the notion of a wife as property, stifling social development still further. It places unnecessary strains on the unfortunate groom who quite literally can be reduced to a pauper overnight. I doubt it does much for the relationship between the prospective groom and his new inlaws, who will be outraged to discover they live in a one room apartment (including kitchen) so small that one has to step outside for the other to change clothes.

It is in my considered opinion that when I go down on one knee, the bride to be, in my mind is priceless and no amount of money, livestock or sacks of grains can ever be enough. Not nearly.

Of coursed if forced to sell a liver heart colon kidney, or something else I have a pair of, I won't have much choice :( But then again she could always have a bag packed and listen for pebbles hitting her window


I'll teach you how to stunt
My wrists stay rocked up
My TV's pop up in a Maybach benz
I'll teach you how to stunt
Nigga you can't see me
My bently GT got smoke-gray tints
I'll teach you how to stunt
My neck stay blinging, my rims stay gleaming, I'm shining man
I'll teach you how to stunt ...

Scenes at the last G Unit Concert

Jerzee Monet - Most High

Thursday, May 05, 2005

CSI: Nation Center

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Grissom: Ngai fafa! From the very beginning I knew this case would be a tough one. I was under no illusions. I've seen many things in the course of my job, including that case where someone quite literally got the taste slapped out of his mouth. He actually lost his tongue. So this case caught my interest the minute I switched on the KTN morning news. I rushed over here with my team. In fact here comes Warrick, Sara and Nick to brief me. Excuse me.

(Lengthy whispered conference)

Grissom: I think now we have all the facts to piece together what happened here yesterday
Warrick: Man, this is one of the most involving cases I have ever worked on. I remember the time ...

Grissom: Get On!
Warrick: Right. The facts are as follows (Consults notepad) At precisely 2300 Zulu
Sara: (Wearily) He means 11:32 PM
Warrick: A convoy of 3 Mercedeses, 2 Pajeros, 4 Motor Bikes, 2 Toyota Corollas, a tuk tuk, a BMX bicycle with trainers and 3 poor fools on foot pulled up outside the Nation Center
Sara: The suspect, dressed in a pink dress and blue jeans
Warrick: (Interrupting) You mean a pink sweater and blue jeans
Sara: (Wordlessly holding up photo)
Grissom: Point taken. Go on
Warrick: Preliminarily reports indicate that the culprit was accompanied by 14 body guards and two shy school boys, but the school boys turned out to the Provincial Police Boss and the Central Police Station Boss. The culprit was heard to complain why she was being shown a door and she could clearly see the stairs but was calmed down as it was explained to her that it was an elevator
Sara: The entourage then proceeded to the scene of the crime
Grissom: Witnesses?
Sara: Plenty. Here they come

Clifford Derrick: (Face bandaged) This has certainly been my toughest assignment, and I have covered Shifta fighting in North Eastern Province, in the line of fire
Grissom: That looks painful.
Clifford: (Bitterly) It jolly well is! People are already calling me Kiraitu on account of the changing of the shape of my mouth

Sara: So what happened?
Clifford: We got a SMS from Nation Center and rushed over ...
Grissom: SMS? Not a call?
Clifford: Turns out that First Lady objected to telephone usage so someone sent a SMS from under a desk. So we turned up, went to the newsroom and got down to work. Next thing I know something loud and pink whirled up to me and the next thing I know I'm collecting two premolars and three molars from across the room. I used to box but I've never been hit so hard in my life. There are still little grooves in my cheek. She took my camera and tried to break it across her knee 14 times before she put it down and began addressing me incoherently.

(Collective wincing)

Grissom: I think you should get your face looked at. Who else was there?
Farida: (Stepping up) Me.

Warrick: Can you tell us what she did?
Farida: Very simple. She talked. And talked. And talked. For over 5 hours. We actually ran out of film. Yap yap yap yap yap!
Grissom: Anything striking in what she said
Farida: (Feelingly) Striking does not begin to cover it. When she was not making goblin like faces that terrified our younger interns, she was speaking vaguely coherently about anything and everything. In summary she:
  • Called us idiots
  • Accused us of painting her government in a bad light
  • Accused us of making Kenya a laughing stock (Get a mirror, whydontya!!)
  • Went on a 3 minute hunger strike
  • Asked us questions and answered them herself
  • Answered questions she thought we had asked
  • Answered questions we did not ask
  • Refused to answer questions we asked
  • Helped herself to our phones, diaries, pens etc. She even took one intern's Kasuku exercise book
  • Ordered water and refused to drink it
  • After declaring she was on a hunger strike, called State House to order breakfast. I think I heard something like tea and beans
  • Swung on our new office chairs

Grissom: Well, that sounded like a trying 5 hours
Clifford: Tell me about it! I feel like I've celebrated two birthdays in there.
Sara: Do we have enough?
Grissom We have enough.


"I don't buy newspapers. I read them after everyone else"
Lucy Kibaki, First Lady
Eagles - Hotel California

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Rise Of The Uruk Hai - Party Raid

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<INFO> Our 'working nation' failed to avail power on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, at least where I was. Following post was written Saturday evening and is ENTIRELY tounge in cheek, and any reactions should be in said spirit. </INFO>

Note: Any image mix ups are accidental.

An Uruk Hai Chieftain, leading a band famed for ruthlessly efficient warlike tendencies

A Certain East African First Lady, famed for ruthlessly efficient warlike tendencies
KCSE Section I (20 Marks)
Delete as applicable
1) A certain firstthird rate lady is
(a) Out of her doggone mind
(b) Crazier than a full moon dog
(c) Some cards shot of a deck
(d) Some spanners short of a toolbox
(e) Misunderstood
(f) All the above

One Makhtar Diop, outgoing World Bank Country Director, and his wife and family are unlikely to forget their farewell party, for it is there that an annoyed woman stormed said party and screeched at length about her peace being disturbed in full view of astounded prominent socialites and diplomats.

This happened three times before security personnel finally recovered their faculties enough to keep her out.

Who was this shady character? Why none other than our First Lady! She did not have a red nose, but she was still clearly and unmistakably recognizable.

The laughter with which I read this report caused me to strain some stomach muscles. A CSI representation of events, sourced from a anonymous sources follows.

Diop is having banter with the German ambassador. Cold drinks are in hand. Crucial and pressing affairs of state are under discussion: "Is Sauerkraut a sausage with a German accent?" Eric Wainaina is on stage. Mercy Myra is awaiting the stage. Waiters are darting around with bitings and drinks. Gate crashers are filling pockets and under pockets. The young at heart are playing shake, having decided that bano would ruin their suits and dresses. Guests are milling around in conversation, enjoying the music. There is a mellow mood in the air.

A screech that reminded the guests of the winged monsters, the Nazgul, in the Lord Of The Rings emanates from the gate. Anything that is not bolted or tied down is shaken from its moorings. A sound like that of the Tasmanian Devil (the one on TV) rips the air and soon a tornado is amongst them. Some of the guests duck under the table. Others duck behind the slower ones.

An amazed Diop finds himself confronted by a wild looking creature that he later establishes to be a human female, who gives every indication that she has recently stuck a wet finger into an electrical socket while wearing steel high heels and standing in a puddle of water in soil rich in iron. Hair is standing on end. Some strands of the hair has been standing on end so long they have walking sticks. She is dressed not in Christian Dior or Dolce and Gabanna but in yellow Bubblegummers pyjamas. On her feet are Bugs Bunny sandals with floppy ears. The sandals flash red lights with each step.

Diop reminisces "You cannot be imagining my surprise when she is appearing in front of me, speaking what I am thinking to be ancient Hobbit. I was not understanding a thing she was saying"

Diop's wife agrees. "My daughter, roused by all the noise wanted to know why she had not been invited to the pyjama party". She adds cryptically: "Now I see why the hot comb is no longer used."

Diop continues. "She is wanting to know who my mother is. I was finding that puzzling. I hope she was not thinking she was the one."

A guest who threatened violence if his name was divulged, continues. "I've never seen anyone talk so loudly, so incoherently, and so continuously. Right before I collapsed with laughter all we were hearing was 'blah blah blah blah'! Still, I count myself luckier than most. Much as I have been in a situation where all my limbs where broken at once and I simultaneously developed a rash all over my body, some poor souls have spent 40 years in the presence of this monstrosity."

Another guest concurs as he thoughtfully pulls his beard. "My sympathies are with Kibaki. Just imagine -- you go to bed, there she is. Wake up -- she's there. Breakfast -- tea, chicken and Lucy. Fly to the US -- there she is. Go to bandit prone peripheral areas like Mandera and Ijara and there she is. Go to the bathroom -- guess who! His shadow is probably followed around by her shadow, the poor schmuck! Probably it was his idea to get her out so he can spend 5 hours of peace and quiet without seeing or hearing her"

Another guest agrees. "Some things should not be seen after taking down half a bottle of Black Label" We felt like Hobbits under a full scale attack by the entire Uruk Army. It was only later that we establish that it was one Uruk -- er -- first lady. I'll give her this -- she can scare the heck out of anyone!"

Following these current events a flurry of mail has been filling my inbox
Dear M,
We wish to take this opportunity to dissociate ourselves completely with events revolving around Makhtar Diop's farewell party. We wish to stress in the strongest possible terms that the person who caused all the commotion is not, I repeat, NOT our member. Even we have standards. Please refrain to referring to her as shady.

Larry King Live Ondiek III Junior ACE,
Secretary General,
ASHP (Association of Shady People)

Dear M,
We are not comfortable with comments that have been made linking the party disruptor with our organization. She is not one of us.

Waithera Waithera,
VIMAK (Village Maiden Association Of Kenya )

Dear M,
I wish to forthwith relinquish the term 'Shady', and will no longer use it to refer to either myself, my crew or my label. Clearly there are more deserving people for the title.

Marshall Mathers (Eminem)


"This is a confirmation of the recent speech by President Kibaki that people from other areas should not bring their rubbish to Nairobi and that the city should remain clean"
Sharriff Nassir, former MP
Michael Jackson - Jam