James Clarke Masthead
October 14 2013 at 08:45

Driving on country roads one cannot help noticing the frequent sight of solitary crows perched on telephone poles as if on sentry duty.

Having had a life-long interest in birds, I am now able to reveal (as we old newspapermen like to say) that they are indeed acting as sentinels.

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October 11 2013 at 08:40

I don’t know how many passwords and user names you have these days. I have at least two dozen. And if you are into Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and electronic banking then you’ll know all about it.
I raise the subject because I have just received from three kind readers an electronic exchange between a poor benighted computer user and some robotic voice in that mysterious mission control room in deep cyberspace.
The poor, benighted user had been told his password had expired. If that ever happens to me I’d hurl myself off my front doorstep.
Passwords, for those who have cellphones and iPhones, desk computers and laptops, must have a certain number of letters and sometimes numbers and sometimes both. Sometimes the letters must be upper case and lower case.
The exchange of messages went like this…
“Sorry, your password has expired – you must register a new one.”
Why? Has somebody discovered my password and hacked my computer?
No, but your password has expired – you must get a new one. Why a new one? That one seems to be working well.
Well, you must get a new one as they automatically expire every 30 days.
Can I use the old one and just re-register it?
No, you must get a new one.
I don’t want a new one – it just means one more thing for me to have to remember.
Sorry, you must get a new one.
Okay then – roses.
Sorry, you must use more letters.
Okay: pretty roses.
No good, you must use at least one numerical.
Okay: 1 pretty rose.
Sorry, you cannot use blank spaces.
Okay: 1prettyrose.
Sorry, you must use additional letters.
Okay: 1soddingprettyrose.
Sorry, you must use at least one capital letter.
Okay: 1SODDINGprettyrose.
Sorry, you cannot use more than one capital letter in a row.
Okay: 1Soddingprettyrose.
Sorry, you cannot use that password as you must use at least two capital letters and a special character like @ or *.
Okay: SOddingprettyroseshovedup-your*#!ifyoudon’tgivemeaccessrightbloodynow.
Sorry, you cannot use that password as it has already been taken.
Threnody (she’s my secretary y’know – she files everything under M for Miscellaneous) forgot to remind me that September 24 was the day of deaf people. A pity because it bears relevance to a subject I broached last week – adult attention deficit disorder.
I have since learned that many marriages are wrecked by it.
You’ve heard the expression, “How many times do I have to tell you?” It can be an indication of deafness or, more likely, that somebody has ADD – attention deficit disorder.
But don’t jump to confusions…
Hugh Farquharson tells me of a man who feared his wife was going deaf and felt she needed a hearing aid. His wife insisted her hearing was normal.
Not quite sure how to approach her, he phoned the family doctor to discuss it. The doctor described a simple test that he could perform without his wife being aware of it.
“Here’s what you do,” he said. “Stand a dozen metres away and speak in a normal conversational tone. See if she hears you.
“If not, go to about nine metres, then six and so on until you get a response.”
That evening his wife was in the kitchen cooking and her husband, in a normal voice, asked from the adjacent room: “Honey, what’s for dinner?”
No response.
He moved closer and asked again. No response. He moved even closer
In the end he was right behind her and again asked, “Honey, what’s for dinner?”
She spun around and said: “Ralph, for the fifth time, it’s CHICKEN!”

Contact Stoep: E-mail: [email protected]; Website: www.jamesclarke.co.za;
Blog: http://stoeptalk.wordpress.com

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October 7 2013 at 11:12

On October 17 (that’s Thursday next week) at 4pm the Highveld’s summer rainfall season is scheduled to open with its usual bang and flash. By 5.15pm the rain will stop after delivering the first 20mm of summer rain.

Look, with all this climate change I might be a bit out.

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September 30 2013 at 10:17

A reader says she can remember songs from the 1970s and 1980s but cannot remember what she was about to do when she went from one room into another.

According to psychologists at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, passing through a doorway causes one to separate one set of thoughts and memories from the next.

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September 23 2013 at 09:21

Readers send me zillions of sayings and readers may be mollified to know that I keep them all. I hope that, one day, I will be able to ring Threnody, my secretary, from home, and tell her to snip off the first 600 words (which is all that this column can hold), and send them to the editor while I take the day off to play on my skateboard.

The problem is that Threnody files everything under M for Miscellaneous so it becomes a time-consuming task to find anything at all. I have, therefore, started a file of my own marked OS (Other Stuff) and in it I file sayings.

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