A pose by any other name?

My son, Alistair, in his productive thirties, breezed in from London one day and instead of asking how I was, simply said “I have changed my name.”

What reaction did he expect?
Should I rant and rave? Should I, perhaps, sulk? After all, he was my son and heir and the last chance for the family surname to live on.
Then I thought, so what!
I remember mumbling “really?”
The $64 000 question of course is “to what have you changed your name.” But I refused to ask (swine!) and that seemed to unsettle the dear lad somewhat.
“Don’t you want to know dad?” he volunteered.
I thought for a while. What if he had changed it to Smith, or Hitler, Mussolini, Mason or Munchausen; something even remoter?
The thought of introducing him to someone … this is my son, Bottom Drawer, suddenly flashed before me.
“Okay, what is it?” I conceded.
He triumphantly announced, “My name is now Elan Gamaker.”
Not so bad I thought, my great grandfather had that name – Lithuania has a quaint way with names.
Fine I said – that KO’d him even more.
“Do you mean you don’t mind,” he queried.
“Nope I said; just don’t be in a hurry to change it again.”
Anyway the name stuck and when he married, his wife became Michelle Gamaker-Williams and my fabulous granddaughter born five years ago is Julia Gamaker-Williams.
So what is all the fuss?
When Ron Artest’s name was legally changed to Metta World Peace in 2011, he said: ”Changing my name was meant to inspire and bring youth together all around the world.”  Doesn’t seem to have been tsunami-like in its wave of change.
They don’t always stick.
In 2006, in honour of Hispanic Heritage Month, gridiron’s Chad Johnson said he wanted be known as Ocho Cinco – eight five in Spanish. (Eighty-five would be ochenta y cinco). Johnson legally changed his name to Chad Javon Ochocinco in 2008 Ochocinco etched on his jersey. In 2012, he moved to Miami Dolphins and legally changed back to Chad Johnson to… “reconnect with his former self.”
Hope he found himself.
Running back and receiver Mark Duper changed to his appropriate nickname Super in 1985.  He proclaimed it wasn’t ego. ”I don’t want anyone to think I’m trying to be Mr Big,” Duper said – of course not!
JB Holmes (changed from John Holmes) is one of the US PGA’s longest hitters. He shared a name with a US porn legend, so decided to go by his own initials. At least he didn’t pawn his name.
Then there was Angelo Siciloano – what? A US body-builder. Grew up as a skinny, sickly child. Being bullied by other children inspired him to become tough, choosing Atlas after the Greek Titan, who in Greek mythology supports the sky on head and arms. He has statues to him in 75 countries worldwide. Remember Charles Atlas?
Ever hear of Kid Chocolate? Elegio Sardinius-Montalbo, became a great featherweight and was the first prominent Cuban boxer. The broads and the booze caught up with him New York.
James Cleveland Owens’ nickname was JC, for, but misheard for Jesse. The name stuck. Winning four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics he proved Adolf Hitler wrong who had said all Jews and Blacks would fail; Owens reshaped athletics forever.
And my favourite boxer? Why Tony Zale of course.  Born Anthony Florian Saleski in 1913
he was also nicknamed “Man Of Steel” as World Middleweight Champion for almost seven years; a most popular fighter. His three bouts against Rocky Graziano are legendary.
Figure-skater Rudy Galindo appreciated his partner, Kristi Yamaguchi so much he ended his name with an i instead of a y in her honour. They twice won the national title.
The tall, talented, elegant but alas, drug-riddled tennis Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova thought of becoming “Sugarpova” to promote her line in sweets; thankfully it was rejected.
But everyone has heard of brilliant golf pro Eldrick Woods –  who? Tiger Woods of course. Tiger was a nickname given to Eldrick by his father; Tiger certainly caught on
Most Millenniums could tell you who Muhammad Ali was; how many knew his true name – Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr? He became a Muslim – the rest is history.
We’ll give the last word to the greatest funny man of the 20th century. A fan rushed up to Groucho Marx and shouted – “love you Mr Mark.” When corrected, the fan apologised, but Marx simply uttered the immortal words: “Son, I do not mind what you call me, so long as you don’t call me late for dinner…”
What’s in a name anyway?

Press Release

Press Release
January 27, 2017

Bowls SA Masters final live on TV
The final of the Warwick Wealth/Bowls SA Open Masters Championships at The Wanderers Club, Johannesburg will be televised live on 12 February. This match is expected to begin at 11.30AM; Conditions will if dictate whethere the men’s or women’s Open final. The link www.streamit360.tv/#805  is already displayed on the Bowls South Africa website (www.bowlssa.co.za) under Tournaments 2017 and will also be displayed on Facebook under Bowls South Africa.

Sometimes when you’re ‘fixed’ it pays to stay that way?

Sometimes when you’re
‘fixed’ it pays to stay that way?

The late great US comedian Bob Hope told a story of Hotel Watergate being bugged. “I never believed it would happen; could happen. But I stayed there at the height of the Nixon controversy, went down to breakfast one morning, picked up a grapefruit and got a dialing tone… then I believed…”

Similarly, could one truly believe a semi-literate man on a Caribbean island, one Jack Warner, could mastermind a global soccer spider’s web of deceit and theft with tacit approval from the head of world soccer body Fifa, the now disgraced Sepp Blatter? It was, is still, the Beautiful Game’s worst nightmare.

Ensnared were greedy officials at every level, in a maze of cunning theft, money laundering and total corruption more complicated and complete than the veins of blue in a slice of Gorgonzola.

South Africa’s soccer hierarchy, alas, perhaps faced with an invidious position over hosting the 2010 World Cup, fell into the spiders’ clutches and although continuing to protest their innocence are, without doubt, tainted.

So eager were those involved to secure the event they brought an ailing Nelson Mandela out of retirement, flew him for 17 hours to Tobago, where his charisma and charm worked in his nation’s favour.

Yes, I read with widening eyes not only could it be done; how it was done, as respected journalist and author, Ray Hartley documents in The Big Fix, How South Africa Stole the World Cup (paperback, 248 pages, Jonathan Ball, 2016).

In Foul: The Secret World of Fifa; Bribes, vote rigging and ticket scandals, published by legendary investigative English journalist Andrew Jennings in 2006 – the author said: “These scum have stolen the people’s sport; they’ve stolen it, the cynical thieving bastards…”

It was to happen again, and again and again.

The brilliant Hartley shows South Africa has plenty of which to be ashamed – his meticulously researched book makes compelling reading.

It’s a nauseating tale of how an international betting ring manipulating warm-up games, through bribing referees, how major construction and engineering companies squabbled like hyenas  as they rigged the pricing and distribution of building stadiums, how Blatter convinced South Africa to underwrite the event to the tune of R30 billion, of how one honest man in Mpumalanga died in a hail of bullets and how South Africa paid a $10 million bribe to evil kingpin Jack Warner of Tobago to secure the vote (s) over Morocco that would eventual see them win the bid  to host.

SA received much praise and world attention for staging a major event, run it efficiently, offering top class hospitality, security, plus travel, heritage and wildlife attractions; it did enhance SA’s tourism prospects; but was it worth it?

I let Hartley explain: “…What struck me was how the national impulse to project success and to prove that we could do it resulted in a number of serious issues being buried in a deluge of patriotic fervour.   What a shock it was, then, to discover there were strong claims of corruption. American football don Chuck Blazer admitted in plea bargain testimony his vote and those of two others were obtained in exchange for a payment of US$10m to Warner who ran the Central and North American football body.

“In Blazer’s sealed testimony before a judge in New York, a picture of a shameless money-for-votes scheme emerged. According to his testimony, the money, paid under the guise of support for the “African Diaspora”, made its way to Warner and then to his bank accounts.”

Hartley documents how the $10 million to have been paid by the SA government, became a problem, solved as two letters to Fifa disclose a cunning scheme whereby instead of Pretoria paying the money, it was to be deducted from Fifa’s payment to SA and Fifa would pay Warner. No record of this payment — or indeed of the “Diaspora legacy programme” — was ever made in the extensive government history of 2010; no one has been investigated or charged under SA law over the bribe.”

Perhaps the worst incident was in Mpumalanga, where the speaker of the Mbombela municipality, Jimmy Mohlala, was gunned down after raising questions about stadium land and the awarding of a contract related to its construction.

In The Big Fix, Hartley reveals all; it is the real story of the 2010 World Cup … miss it at your peril.
• Ray Hartley worked as an administrator at the CODESA negotiations, which ended apartheid. He has covered the unfolding drama of the new South Africa as a political correspondent, travelling extensively with Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. Hartley was founding editor of TheTimes and editor of South Africa’s largest newspaper The Sunday Times, from 2010 to 2013. He is author of Ragged Glory: The Rainbow Nation in Black and White; editor of the essay collection How To Fix South Africa.

Colleen, Rudi, Gerry not alone on the lonely path to the top

As I have written before, the world’s best bowls singles players are the albatrosses of the greens. Like the magnificent feathered ocean travellers who ply their own routes, four-wood bowlers are always one or another type of loner; needing to be their own person, so demanding is their discipline.

They are probably “related” to 100m elite athletes.

Sometimes brash, aloof, bold, tough, independent, confident, the breed possesses special ingredients required to survive the testing regimen of the track’s blue riband event.

It is no different for bowlers.

No teammate is there to “pick you up” or “urge you on”; your thoughts, game plan, shot execution, memory of the hours of practice, the confidence in delivery and choice of strategy are sole companions.

Top singles players are found in one of three groups of loners – “quiet sorts” (Judy Armist, Doug Watson, Richard Corsie, Bill Moseley, Margaret Johnstone, Joe Peacock, Kevin Campbell, Ashley van Winkel, Esme Chiat. Rob Owsley, Brian Ellwood, Shaun Addinall, Gerry Baker, Wayne Perry, Esme Haley, Morgan Muvhango), “can-be-noisy sorts” (Cyril Lahana,  Clinton Roets, Jeff Rabkin, Donnie Piketh, Pauline Price, Lorna Trigwell now Smith, Peter Bellis, Susan Nel, Steve Glasson, Neil Burkett, Willie Wood, David Bryant, Tony Allcock, Karen Murphy) and the “dark horses” (Trish Stein, Nici Neal, Eric Johannes, Evelyn Chiat, Tommy Harvey, Alan Johnson, Bruce Makkink, Tracy-Lee Botha,  Donny Piketh, Rob Owsley, John Milligan, Pearl Lamprecht).

So where would you put Colleen Webb Piketh (see picture above), top player, a multiple champion at every discipline and at every level, but in particular a mean, nagging-at-you, never-give-up, woman singles star?

Testimony to Piketh’s class and the emergence of a glittering talent – spotted by the selectors and afforded a chance she eagerly accepted have seen 20-something victories in gold at Atlantic Rim, Commonwealth Games and the Six Nations in India, the African States, Quadrangular events and SA Masters (multiple times).

But Piketh’s long list of top medals has been set up primarily as a singles player. Her titles are too many to list; the inventory puts one to sleep, so long does it stretch.

At the 2016 World Bowls Championships in New Zealand, the gifte4d player almost won a play-off spot – ending a smidgen off the pace in a hot, hot section.

Wags say mother Barbara bought her first real shoes when she was four – bowling shoes. Few dare argue that. But with such skill genes from mom (an SA Senior Masters champion) and dad Clive, in his day the silkiest deliverer of a bowl that ever walked a green and a champion to boot, how could schoolteacher Colleen falter?”

One of many victories stands out.

“I think my greatest moment was when I won the singles gold at the Atlantic Rim (now the Atlantic Tournament) at Ayr in Scotland. To compete as a 23 year-old on the world stage and triumph was something; I was so proud for my country, my family and myself.”

That phrase sums it up; she put herself last … she goes into the “quieter type of loner.”

What makes a such a vibrant person dedicate herself to bowls?

Colleen sums it up: “I have always enjoyed bowls. My mom included me in her teams from the start and we did well together. She gave me guidance and support; taught me a lot. Dad was also always supportive and a great source of savvy.

But she has faced personal tragedy with courage and grit; as she says:

“Having lost my beloved husband Adrie (of the outstanding Piketh bowling family and a top player in his own right) a wonderful supporter … how can I not now play every game for him?”

There’s gold in them thar hills for Colleen –  just go and get it.

Every drop of water saved vital for South Africa

Sport, like everything else in life depends heavily on the availability of water. In the Western Cape, the adverse El Nino conditions have plunged the region in drought. This drought has impacted on production, jobs, prices and now, because of a continued shortage, expect extreme water use restrictions for the coming summer. Bottom line is, if we do not stop leaks, turn off taps and generally conserve and preserve our water the local dams could be dry and I mean dry, come May next year.
So where do we stand – as of today?
I read an Internet article (http://showme.co.za) with information supplied by the department of water and sanitation. It is a not a pretty tale. So I will use plenty of what appeared to try to jump-start all to pay heed to the warnings.
The crisis is here; this is what the article explains:
“The Berg River Dam once more rose slightly to 73%, but combined total water stored in the main dams fell to 60.7% of capacity as the benefit of recent rains faded.

Although outflows again exceeded inflows, compared to 2015 the effect of recent rains can be seen in that the total water stored level fell more slowly and the year-on-year shortfall declined to 11.7% (from 12%). This means that a year ago the dam levels fell more quickly than they did last week. However, the summer decline has definitely set in and is likely to accelerate.

However, some hope lies in the wetter La Niña weather pattern continuing to assert itself, with rainy spells starting to appear in previously very dry medium to long range forecast periods.

First predicted some weeks ago, there is now a burst of 25-35mm rain forecast for early this month. This wet weather may see a thunderstorm develop with strong gusty winds that could push the rain up into the mountains. The possibility continues to grow that showers might happen during November which could help to slow down the rate of fall in the dam levels.”

City of Cape Town Council restrictions this will ban hosepipes and sprinklers totally with watering of gardens and external use by buckets only being permitted. Other municipalities will surely follow – not just6 homes, but many businesses and sports clubs could be affected.

The article quoted a Tor Benson, who said: “Spare a thought for me. I am an irrigation contractor – have been one for 28 years. I am not sure what is going to become of my staff, myself, nurseries or garden services. This is a massive blow to those in these industries.”

The article’s author, answering readers’ questions and comments on what could be done to improve matters, suggested:

Build more big dams – fact is that there are no more suitable places in the SW Cape area to build large storage dams. The only large river south of the mountains is the Berg River and that is already fully dammed. Remember that the river cannot be stopped altogether and must be allowed to flow for users downstream.

Modify other dams – there are some initiatives to raise some dam walls and to perhaps dam the Lourens River in Somerset West as well as the Molenaars River in Du Toit’s Kloof, but the extra storage impact will be small and may sometimes just reduce water otherwise stored in bigger dams downstream. So surface water storage possibilities are largely exhausted.

Draw water from the extensive Cape underground aquifer. This is a definite possibility but is energy-hungry. The good thing is that normal Cape Town winter rainfall would substantially replenish ground water so removed. It could be implemented far more quickly than desalination and will surely form part of the long-range water supply solution in the Cape.

Desalinate sea water. This is a definite possibility but is similarly energy-hungry; it would ensure that fresh water is available but would cause the price of water to climb substantially. Also it is not quickly done; these would be major works, require extensive pumping networks and access to reliable large electricity generation facilities (nuclear?). But desalination will likely form part of the long-term fresh water supply solution.
Reduce wastage – this is definitely something that could help. Steps could include more promptly fixing breakages, improved planned maintenance to reduce leaks, educating all to use water more sparingly and insisting on better training and certification of private water systems installers.

Adopt water-wise practices at a household and community level – lay out gardens to conserve surface water, reduce grass areas, plant using indigenous types that consume less water, install more efficient drip irrigation, replace alien trees and re-use grey water in gardens.

Harvest rainwater and groundwater – install tanks to store rainwater fed from gutters and install wells to tap into local ground water which can also be pumped to the tanks for later use.

Actively reduce household consumption – there are many ways to reduce water usage at a household level. These include showering instead of bathing, installing short-cycle toilet flush mechanisms, routing grey water from appliances to the garden, developing habits to minimise water use, etc. A useful aim is to cut total fresh water used to 150 litres or less per day per person. This way a 4-person household will use only 18,000 litres per month vs the current average of over 30,000 litres. Even greater reductions are possible without hardship. Reducing consumption will also help to cut monthly costs.

As was suggested, this is a world-wide phenomenon – more than half the world’s population live in cities. The result is an enormous concentration of demand everywhere for fresh water. It is no exaggeration that future wars could be fought over water.

Figures given indicated:

• In 1950 the population of greater Cape Town was 685 000 and its water demand could be met by local peninsula dams together with just the two Steenbras main dams. Today the population is estimated at 3 600 000 people and five times as much water storage is needed. But the raw fact of the matter is demand for fresh water is inexorably outstripping supply. Major new water generation solutions need to be implemented by 2025 to avoid a possible crisis in the Cape. Costs of water will inevitably rise and all will have to learn to make do with less water.
• Consider the effect inland where desalination is impractical and underground water resources are limited. It is estimated 60% of South Africa’s fresh water comes from the Western Cape. In time this fact is likely to encourage a shift of the national population towards this area with a consequent greater increase in demand for water.

The writer spells out the next 10 years will be critical in addressing this national water shortage problem.
With thanks to http://showme.co.za