Saturday, November 24, is Birding Big Day (BBD) in South Africa, when thousands of people in various stages of insanity rise at dawn – some even at midnight – to twitch.
Twitch? This is a universally-accepted verb to describe the act of seeing how many bird species one can positively identify in a given time – usually 24 hours – within a radius of 50km of a fixed point. The BBD record stands at 276 identified in a day by a team of four in Zululand.
Scott Adams – the originator of Dilbert, an awkward, deadpan, mouthless techno-nerd whose antics are syndicated to newspapers across the world – has produced several books of his cartoons.
Dilbert comic strips are, I imagine, a form of therapy for the tired and huddled masses who work in those dreadful open-office environments managed by blustering people promoted beyond their skills – the sort of offices where people behave like meerkats, popping up every so often to peer over their screens to see what is going on.
There’s been a suggestion that the tradition of the braaivleis is a conspiracy. Women are behind it.
Sally Antrobus, a former Star journalist and now a successful writer in Texas, came across the theory in the Round Top Register, a newspaper that serves the tiny population of Round Top in south-east Texas.
National Geographic has embarked on an Endangered Languages Project and, in a preamble, the producer says that different languages reveal how one cultural group’s perceptions can be totally, and seemingly illogically, the reverse of another’s.
“In Tuva, for example, the past is always spoken of as being ahead of one, and the future is behind one’s back.