The Idler: Down Mexico way…

nm Wolves in Westchester AP In this photo provided by the Wolf Conservation Centre, a litter of eight newborn Mexican wolf pups snuggle at the facility in South Salem, New York. The eight pups born at the preserve on May 6 could aid the federal programme that has reintroduced the endangered species to the wild. Last year it was believed that there were 50 Mexican wolves living wild in the US. Picture: AP

Mexico’s electoral authority has apologised to the nation for the revealing outfit worn by a studio assistant during a televised presidential election debate.

The four candidates were talking earnestly about the economy and drug-related violence when – caramba! – on walked Julia Orayen displaying a décolletage to send Speedy Gonzales into orbit.

Julia – who once posed nude for the Mexico edition of Playboy – was there only a few seconds as she handed a card to each of the presidential candidates, then walked off. But she stole the show. She had the candidates transfixed – also the viewers. The electoral authority was right to apologise. Julia should not have been displayed for only a few seconds. Tantalisation of male voters has no place in the democratic process.

The penny drops

AT LAST the penny’s dropped. Willie Basson, acting president of Cricket SA, says the key to transformation in sport is not getting a few previously disadvantaged individuals into the top sides, it’s creating competitions and opportunities at school and club levels.

Do that and sport transforms itself. It takes time, of course, but it’s not a tedious process. For those involved it’s dynamic and enjoyable.

It’s not much fun for the politicos – but who cares about them? They should not be allowed to talk about sport until they’ve lost weight and can do the 100m hurdles in under 15 seconds.

So far we’ve wasted only 18 years.

Great Mall

IT’S DUBBED the Great Mall of China. The planning green light has been given for a massive European/Chinese trading hub on a 127 hectare site just outside the Irish town of Athlone, in County Westmeath.

It’s caused some controversy and opposition. The development will be 14 times the size of Ireland’s largest two existing shopping complexes combined.

The least the Chinese can do, surely, is allow an annual St Patrick’s Day parade in Tiananmen Square.

Gap closes

MALE life expectancy is beginning to close the gap on female, according to scientists in Britain. Women can still expect to live on average six years longer than men, but by 2030 the gap could have closed altogether, according to Professor Les Mayhew, who has conducted a study in England and Wales.

Part of the reason, says Mayhew, is that men are beginning to behave better. Not smoking, not hitting the bottle too hard and so forth.

He doesn’t say it, but the converse must surely be true as well – women are starting to behave badly, worse than men.

Mayhew should extend his studies to the La Bella Street Shelter for the Over-40s, here in Durban.

He’d be shocked by the behaviour of the women.

Theatre

THE PLAYHOUSE is putting on a theatrical performance about puns. It’s a play on words.

Meerkat studies

SCIENTISTS from Cambridge University, England, have been busy in the southern Kalahari studying meerkats. They have been putting scorpions – the meerkats’ favourite food – into transparent Tupperware-type containers with opaque lids.

The meerkats go crazy at the sight of the scorpions, but have yet to learn how to open the Tupperware. It happens purely by chance, the meerkats apparently not having the capacity to learn that the lid is the automatic route to dinner.

Is this surprising? Most of us probably have never thought of meerkats in the context of opening Tupperware. We see their role as being to look cute and catch snakes. But these Cambridge men are no doubt serving some deep scientific purpose.

Tailpiece

SHERLOCK Holmes and Dr Watson are camping. In the early hours, Holmes gives Watson a nudge awake and says: “Watson, behold the stars of the firmament. What does it all tell you?”

“Astronomically, Holmes, it tells me there are millions upon millions of galaxies in the infinity of space. Astrologically, it tells me Jupiter is in conjunction with Venus. Horologically, it tells me it is about three o’clock in the morning. Theologically, it tells me of the greatness of God and of man’s utter insignificance in the vastness of existence. Meteorologically, it tells me we are likely to have a fine day. What does it tell you, Holmes?”

“My dear Watson, it tells me some blighter has stolen our tent.”

Last word

In the United States there is more space where nobody is than where anybody is. That is what makes America what it is. – Gertrude Stein


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