Of Women’s liberation, washing machines, chicken, and finishing master classes

Between so much to talk about and so much to do at the same time, there’s not enough hours in the day…but a few things caught my attention this weekend.

Apparently, the washing machine has done more for women’s liberation in the 20th century than the birth control pill or the right to work outside the home. The Vatican’s semi-official newspaper, the l’Osservatore Romano, reckons in an article published in honour of International Women’s day this past Sunday, that the washing machine tops the list. The title of the article cracked me up – ”The Washing Machine and the Liberation of Women – Put in the Detergent, Close the Lid and Relax.”

On another subject, I’m one who celebrates when you come across a good old fashioned case of a success story amidst a maze of doom and gloom that we’ve seen in the past few years from Kenya. This is to do with KCSE results, where a one Velma Nanyama Mukhongo emerged as the top female student of the 2008 cohort.

Totally ridiculous celebration using a chicken as a propI don’t know about you, but there’s something not right with this picture. Did they have to go fuck it up with that chicken?

What is it with the chicken?

This girl has achieved a feat that ranks her up there amongst the brightest in the nation, but that chicken just flushes out all the color out of her achievement. I thought Boma could at least teach her some PR savyness (Wabbuzz would have never let that photo be published next to the name Kenya High School).

And the weekend wouldn’t have been complete without the front runner of the goal of the season from none other than the master of the clinical finish. (Did I mention that I was an Arsenal fan?)….Anyway, it’s like this dude was never away and in a season that has given many an Arsenal fan high blood pressure, his goal provided a much needed shot in the arm and reminded you why you love football.

And on Youtube, I guess no more music videos for those viewing Youtube from the UK. Google and the Performance Rights Society have decided to end talks on a licensing deal to allow for the free broadcast of music videos.

If you asked me, that’s a really stupid move that will only hurt the artists who are struggling to sell CDs in the first place and desperately need the exposure from Youtube. Google know this and think the PRS (which represents artists and their interest) are just a greedy lot that want too much money in royalties. The PRS think that Google can afford it and should stop being tight bastards (considering they earned over $5 billion in the last quarter in advertising revenue on Youtube alone). Meanwhile, UK residents don’t get to watch music videos.


The 12 point guide to shopping for men who have to do it under duress

Impulse buying for me, has this ability to evoke certain blood thumping emotions. It must be a man thing – one of them that easily defines an exercise in futility if you try to understand it.

There are certain conversations that trigger such emotions – say, like “let’s just pop into the supermarket for a sec and grab some things” or “I’m thinking of grabbing a few bits before we get home.”

They have a similar effect to the male psyche when we hear statements like “we have to talk” or “sweetie, I missed my period” or “babes, you remember when I told you that…” – yeah! That kind of feeling.

So when a pit stop at a Tesco petrol station this week turned into a shopping expedition in the supermarket next door, my body defaulted to the “I don’t really wanna be here” mode.

There’s just something about shopping that repels my DNA, and while I accept that it’s a necessity in life, there’s a very big difference between picking a few bits and bobs and going out for “shopping.”

caddy-161016_640I never really get to know how much drama is involved until that humongous trolley is pulled from the trolley parking zone.

And before I can even utter the words “do we really need this giant thing for a few bits”, there’s that almost dismissive “we’re here anyway, I think we should just do all the shopping now” response, served straight with her ‘“what you gon do’ face.

Well, one option is to go back to the car, roll the chair down and just sink off into the music, but once you’ve reached the stage of being at the supermarket door and seeing that ‘what you gon do’ face, you’ll swiftly rule out this option with a quick reminder not to get out of the car next time. Call it the pragmatism of maintaining world peace and harmony. But even then, world peace has its own casualties, and for me, its that nightmare of being in a mega store that I really don’t want to be in.

I don’t know what it is, I’ve just never liked long shopping trips. Even in my bachelor days, I wrote up a list and either made a painful trip with a very short and specific mission of getting only what was on the list, or I sweet talked a shopaholic friend to do the honors for me.

I don’t remember taking many supermarket trips during college as I was broke most of the time anyway. In fact, I spent more time in the store cafeteria having a meal because of their unbelievable bargains than I did while shopping.

Online shopping was God sent. Whoever thought that folks can just sit at home, browse what they need on the web, click a few buttons and lo and behold, a chap would appear at your door with your groceries is a saint. I became a sucker for typing what I needed in the search box, ticking the check box and adding it to my shopping basket.

I guess my laziness in anything shopping doesn’t prepare me well for the sights and sounds of the modern supermarket.

At least with a shopping list, you can make a quick bee line for what you need and you’re out of the place in a short time.

Most supermarkets even allow you to check out your own groceries with this hand held thingybob so that you don’t waste time smiling with folks in the queue for the till and for nosy people to peer into your trolley to examine your habits.

men hate shoppingSo this time, I resolved that I should indulge in the spirit of bayer berocca – you never know, I might like it and its better than precipitating an atmosphere that could easily land me on the sofa. I’d already lost the battle of staying in the car.

‘Er indoors however, enjoys going through the whole supermarket, aisle by aisle. I’m made to understand that this is a normal state of affairs. I never even knew that a supermarket could have a whole aisle of bread and bready like products. I think actually what surprised me more is that we spent more than 15 minutes in this bread aisle looking for cheap, good quality bread.

You see, where I come from, bread is either cheap or it’s good quality but it’s not both. So this is a totally new concept for me. It also occurred to me that I didn’t know the price of a loaf of bread…Is this normal? Actually, forget I asked….

Let’s just say that the trip to grab a few bits and bobs ended us with a huge trolley that I could easily sit comfortably in being full with stuff that I didn’t even realize we needed in the house. Just set aside the fact that we were meant to do this shopping anyway, it’s just that we moved from “let’s just pick a few bits and bobs” to a full blown shopping trip under duress.

There was a bonus though – I got to understand those figures in my bank statement better. Like I said before, the price that I thought bread was apparently was the price in 1996. Go figure.

Next time, I’m carrying my 12 point guide to shopping for men who have to do it under duress. Guys, this was sent to me a few years back by a friend and it works if you’re dragged kicking and screaming for them shopping trips. I should have had it with me.

Health warning though: You might end up in the doghouse, or worse still, the only hanky panky you’ll be getting for a while is from late night adult TV subscription.

My fellow brethren, if you’re dragged into a shopping trip under duress, this is what you should do to get out of it next time:

  1. Take boxes of condoms and randomly put them into people’s trolleys when they aren’t looking.
  2. Walk up to an employee, tap them on the shoulder and say in an official sounding voice “code 3 in house ware” and then watch what happens.
  3. Move the ‘CAUTION: Wet floor’ sign to a carpeted area.
  4. Make a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the feminine products aisle.
  5. Set off all the alarms in house ware to go off in 5 minute intervals.
  6. Set up a tent in the outdoors clothes department and tell the customers that you’ll only invite them in if they bring sausages and a gas stove.
  7. When the manager asks if they can help you, just burst out crying and scream “why can’t you people just leave me alone?”
  8. While picking and choosing kitchen knives in the housewares area, approach a member of staff with the knives in hand and ask them where the anti depressants are.
  9. Hide in the clothing rack and when people are browsing, yell “pick me, pick me”
  10. Run around the supermarket suspiciously humming loudly to the theme tune of Mission Impossible
  11. When an announcement comes over the loud speakers, coil down in a foetal position and scream “No, no, no – it’s those voices again”
  12. Walk into a changing room and lock yourself in, and after a while, shout loudly “there’s no toilet paper in here”

Naivasha Vampire Godfrey Matheri

Kenya cannot claim to be any holier than the next country as far as crime is concerned. Car thefts, muggings, bank robberies and home break-ins are so much in the news we are almost getting used to them.

The removal and sale of human parts is not new either.

These bizarre incidences have been around since the early 90s. But there’s a new breed of sick minds on the loose.

Guys who rape, torture, kill and even drink blood just for the thrill of it. The kind we read about in True Detective magazines and Anne Rule novels. Or watch on Crime and Investigations Networks. Now we have our very own – the late Simon Matheri and the Naivasha vampire Godfrey Matheri among others.

For now let’s look at Matheri the vampire.

did_someone_say_bite_meIn his defense he says that he delivers the human blood to a local Bishop – Jeremiah Pallangyo of New Hope for all Nations. But the victims tell a different story. He drinks it. He taps it into a cup, then transfers it into a flask and sips it in intervals.

It would probably not be strange if indeed the bishop asked for blood. There are enough cults doing the rounds and Naivasha for some reason seems to have more than it’s fair share of them.

But before his implicating the Bishop is taken seriously, Matheri should have a thorough psychiatric examination in the hands of qualified doctors because chances are he’s mentally sick and could very easily be lying. That guy is not stable.

Raping and keeping the victims’ underpants as trophies cannot possibly be what the Bishop ordered. That must be for his own twisted pleasure. His kind is well described in many criminal profiling books.

Looking at the whole saga from the victims eyes, it’s difficult to fathom the absolute terror that they go through. One look at Matheri even on TV is enough to send shivers down the spines of viewers. Ho does look scary. Seeing him up close siphoning blood?

I would not wish such a thing even on my worst enemy. Like the young victim who says he drew blood and when one vein ran out he cut a different vein and drew more until he filled a cup! My heart goes out to the young woman and I hope she will be able to undergo intensive counseling to rid her mind of the trauma.

Now for the residents of Kihoto. They seem to know the guy and what has been going on quite well. He has been in and out of police custody several times. How come he survived to spread his terror for so long. And the police, I’m no detective but I thought crime scenes are usually sealed off for fine tooth combing. But here the police demolished the house. They probably buried some crucial clues that might have helped further in the investigations.

One shudders to even think of such a guy in our overcrowded prisons. We have all sorts of criminals in there but nobody wants to be sharing a room with a vampire. He could just get thirsty at night.


It’s A Guy Thing

Concealer for menGuys before you close this page at the sight of a correction stick please note that it’s for you. See there, Clinique Stick Correcteur for men. That’s a pocket size concealer pen that can go with you from the office to the pub. Apply it to hide the razor bump marks and other blemishes for an even toned skin. But the razor bumps may be non existent in the first place because you probably also use MenScience Shea Butter Intensive moisturizer.

There is nothing wrong with a guy looking after himself. Top designers like Clinique, Clarins and Lancome have long known that and are making a killing out of masculine skin care products. While the male cosmetic market is not as old and flourishing as female, it has grown very rapidly over the years and sales of male grooming products are leaping by the billions. That means there’s something there. The idea is, if you can spend money on cologne to smell good, why not spend money on products to look good.

When our grandfathers think of grooming, they think of soap. Tough gritty Dark Age soap that you showered with and then lathered the same to use as you would lotion. More recent generations of men can talk about Rexona, Imperial Leather and Old Spice among other products. They can go further and incorporate shower gel, shaving cream, aftershave and cologne. But of late there is also the man who is as much at home having facials, manicures and pedicures as he is having botox injections.

There are only so many ways you can sell three-step-cleansing kits and other beauty handsome products to men – high quality, macho packaging (no pink bubbles) and tough as nails names. No small time romances in the naming. It’s gruff and vaguely scientific names like Bath Bombs, Brute, Free Range Chicken Poop Lip Balm (Ok that’s not for men), Apothecary, Anthony Logistics Hair Treatment, Ultraceuticals Even Skintone Serum ………. you get the drift. And not so gentle on the instructions either. Don’t ask the guys to dab them gently and apply in circular motions. They need hard working moisturizers and lip exfoliators so tell them to slap them on rub hard.

Ladies whose guys have taken grooming to the next level are lucky they don’t have such a hard time manscaping. What’s more, you can compare notes with your man on whose eyebrow shaping and colouring came out better. It’s so much easier for you to gift shop for him. Over the years you have bought him enough wallets and belts. Now you can have a longer list of possibilities with gifts like microfine soothing facial scrub, Almond hand/nail cream or soothing lip exfoliator. But when your toner is finished do not attempt to go for his. What looks like a friendly bottle of bubbles could turn out to be a harsh wake up call. Macho products have some extra bite. It’s a guy thing.


Wacky Business Names

Want to start a business? Have you picked a name yet? It is said that the name you choose for your business has a lot to do with it’s success or failure. As such there are lessons out there – long complicated notes and near scientific formulas on how to come up with a business name that will ensure success.

But for some it’s as easy as one, two three. A common criteria for choosing business names this part of the world is to pick and combine the first few letters of your name and that of your spouse, your children, your cat, your canine friend……. the choices are limitless.

But despite the fact that this way we shall never run out of unique names, it’s not always a safe route because it can produce some really wacky names for your business. Clients may avoid doing business with you just so they don’t have to sweat it out writing your name on a cheque. They may avoid calling you so they don’t keep pronouncing it when they book calls to you. If it’s a kindergarten, don’t come up with a mouthful of a name that your little clients cannot pronounce.

You’ll always know businesses that pick their names like that.

  • Domungwa Enterprises and General Merchant
  • Stekaka Kindergarten
  • Juwangi General Merchants
  • Sajomku Distributors
  • Nawalu Cleaning services

Ok, these businesses do not actually exist. They’re just examples of name concoctions and have no relation to any businesses that may go by similar names.

You may want to save yourself the trouble and just use your name. In which case if your name is Boring then your business becomes Boring Business Systems. Simple. Boring Business Systems, boring name notwithstanding, has been in operation in Florida US since 1924. That’s 80 years of operation – a huge success if you ask me. So maybe business names don’t matter after all.
Picture Courtesy of:Dailyhaha.com

Now now now, Stiff Nipples Air Conditioning Service. I could not ascertain whether this business actually exists or whether this was an internet prank. But just supposing it exists? Whatever does the telephone operator say when she picks incoming calls? How do clients write the cheques to them when they purchase stuff from their shop?


Of Holy Noise And Kenyan Churches

Picture this. You’ve had a long week and by Saturday you’re looking forward to a quiet time at home for the entire weekend either alone, or with your family or friends. You buy everything you’ll need for those two days as you get ready to wallow in blissful peace and quiet until Monday morning when you get up to go back to work thoroughly relaxed.

But someone else has other plans for your weekend.

A church that recently sprouted less than 100 meters away from your estate has been assembling a huge public address system in preparation for an afternoon crusade that will run into an overnight prayer vigil. You’ve had a lovely late lunch and just when you’re settling in for that movie you borrowed, the serene silence of the neighborhood is shattered by the now familiar ‘Testing Testing One Two Three Hallelujah’.

The word Hallelujah is supposed to invoke positive feelings for the good Lord but in this case a curse escapes your lips. Your problem is not the content of their message though. You also acknowledge the power of God in your life and appreciate that after all there is such a thing as freedom of worship and speech. The problem is the volume of the amplified speakers. The problem is that they’re forcing you and the whole neighborhood to listen to them – what they want, when they want and at the volume they want.

And so there ends your dreams for a peaceful weekend.

They must be worshiping in shifts because they are at it all afternoon, all night and after a brief lull, they’re back Sunday morning around 10.00 am. On Wednesday there is the weekly prayer meeting, Tuesday there is choir practice and some other day in the week there is Piano and other instruments practice – all accompanied by amplified singing and praying.

This is a scenario that is becoming all too common in Kenya with churches sprouting all over and inching increasingly closer to residential areas.

Pubs, company promotions and other non Christian street noisemakers are material for a whole other post.

As much as there are laws to guard the freedom of speech in Kenya, there seems to be none to guard residents against amplified noise or music that is unreasonably loud, raucous, jarring or disturbing to persons other than those for whom it is intended.

Take for example a small tin-walled church of 30X40 feet. A single loud speaker or indeed none at all, is enough to address the maximum number of congregants that can be accommodated in there. So if the same church mounts loud speakers on the roof, it is no longer for the intended audience but for the neighbors.

But is the church sure the neighbors want to listen in the first place?

The unfortunate bit is that a church more than any other noisemaker can always play the holy card. How can you complain while the Lord said to spread his holy word? You must be so unholy bla bla bla.

I feel we need a law on this or if we have one it needs to be enforced.

Amplified sound of any kind should only be allowed at certain times and should only be audible upto a certain distance – say 250 feet. Some countries have done their bit to protect their citizens against amplified noise. This has seen preachers arrested under these laws, thrown into jail and their equipment confiscated.

In 1996 for example, American Christian Enterprises and SOS Ministries sued the city of San Fransisco for discrimination citing that the police and some listeners disliked what they said. But the US Circuit Court of Appeals rejected their claims with Judge Ronald Gould saying in his ruling that from the evidence provided, the people were concerned about unacceptable noise levels and not with the content of the message.

Have a quiet day.


International Slap Your Workmate Day

Did you know that January 16th is International Nothing Day? And 21st January is Squirrel Appreciation Day? And January 26th is Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day.

Check here for a few more crazy holidays.

The bubble wrap day I’ll honour. I love bubble wrap. I don’t actually go out and buy it but if it lands in my hands by chance, for some strange reason I leave no bubble unburst.

Now how about we have an International Slap Your Workmate Day. Not that people don’t already trade slaps in offices and boardrooms. The purpose of making a day for it is to ensure amnesty against any assault cases resulting from the slaps that will be traded. No court cases so people will be free to exercise their palms to the possible maximum. You may only slap one workmate though and any slaps outside the said day are liable for prosecution.

Here in the office I have a very good idea who I’m going to slap when that day is finally passed into law. I’m not playing the holy card here. I’m not by any chance that bespectacled geek in the corner office who thinks their workmates are cheap. I do participate in office banter a lot but sometimes I just want to shut up and work.

Ok Shut up and blog…

I have two candidates for the slap but Bonge wins my palms hands down.

Ours is an open plan office and our work is such that different departments are busy on different days. My candidate is an Information Technology geek. What do IT guys actually do on a day to day basis? When all computers are working perfectly and the networks are fixed to perfection? They browse and chat that’s what. I mean, how many times can you fix a network or service them hard discs?

This one of ours here traverses the internet morning to evening and comes up with all sorts of weird subjects all of which he’s generous enough to share. It is when you’re trying to crack that mystery of some missing papers that you worked on just the other day that he’ll tell you about the ASCII CODE and the philosophy behind it.

If you’re not interested in that, then surely you want to hear about how a volcano comes to be? How the juices boil in the belly of the earth until them tectonic plates can hold no more? How about the Ritcher scale, that one of earthquakes? The law of thermodynamics? The quantum theory? The benzing ring in chemistry and how tricarboxylates react with enamines.

That’s the kind of talk he puts us through.

His new craze of late is the price of oil per barrel and he actually spends time doing some imaginary oil trade on the net!

Oh Come on Bonge! How about we discuss Jennifer Lopez twin babies today?

As a plus for him, he’s very well versed in just about any topic in the world. If you really need to know something then he’s the guy to ask.

This article is posted with full blessings from dear Bonge. Noisemaking notwithstanding, he’s a very sweet guy to work with. And it never hurts anyone to be in the good books of the IT guy does it? His next project? You guessed right – he’s gonna be a writer/blogger. And he won’t just be writing short articles like one Shiko. He swears he’ll come up with an online novel in a few short months.