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Issue 25 ~ April, 2020

As we ride through what may be the Valley of the Shadow of Death, we can’t, all of us, but wonder whether we will see this thing through. We are bombarded daily on all the many social media platforms by jokes, wise statements from eminent persons, only to be told a day later that it was all crap and fake news. Corona, Covid-19, G5, the two blond lunies on either side of the North Atlantic, pandemic, economic meltdown, pushing R20 to the USD, fatalities in their thousands, the world under lockdown and many of us scared to death…many others don’t appear to give a rat’s ass. Somewhere in the morass is some modicum of the truth.
 
We are hearing more and more on the news about a new world order being brought to the fore by the Corona pandemic. The planet for the first time is acting in complete unison and we are all pulling in the same direction and singing to the same tune sheet. But who is playing the fiddle? Someone is going to make a massive profit after this business is over and it ain’t you and me; many of us will count our blessings if we just survive Corona and the aftermath.

I am somewhat fortunate in that as a veterinarian we are considered to be providing an essential service, so we are at work as usual, except that it is not anything as usual. Clients have to call, and we send masked, robed, and gloved staff to collect patients from the carpark and we talk on the phone to the owners about whatever is the problem. Patients are delivered back to the owners’ car in the parking lot later in the day or whenever. In the clinic we are on full time disinfection and cleaning of everything. If the Corona does not kill us the disinfectant will! We have no shortage of CH3CH2OH at the clinic or at home! My wife is very strict about this.
 
I believe that it is important that in these difficult times and extraordinary circumstances that we look to the future and to  getting back to a normal life where we shake hands, hug and kiss people and just carry on with life. I am a very gregarious person and like to hug, so am feeling very deprived and my poor long suffering wife is getting hugged to death! I am telling my clients, those who I usually greet with a hug that I am keeping a list of who I owe how many hugs to. It is a long list and will be consummated very soon I hope.
 
Darryl and I are continuing with planning for BookBedonnerd XIII in the hope that it will be all systems go and life as normal at the end of October. We have lined up a very exciting group of speakers, presenters, South African Independent Publishers, and with the introduction to the upcoming Spinning a Yarn and Story Telling Festival starting in April 2021, a jam packed extended weekend.
 
With the enforced lockdown we have a unique opportunity to become a bit more introverted and reflective on life on Terra and our own lives. Usually it is hard to take a real time out because we have to constantly be looking over our shoulder at the competition and worrying about loosing our place when we take our foot off the pedal for more than a minute. Everyone is now in neutral and there is no gas is in the tank; the ignition is off. We now, for a unique period can read more, even have more contact with far off family with the wonders of Skype, WhatsApp, Zoom and the rest of them. We can perhaps allow our spiritual beings to announce themselves and give us something really important to ponder and to think about…..why are we here and what is our end game? Have we done at least a couple good things in our lives? In the real world….if it is the real world, we rarely have time to think or even pray. At the end of the lockdown perhaps we will be a better race of humankind…smarter, more spiritual and forgiving and kind to our families and fellow human beings and even to plants and animals….our planet.
 
One of the things this shutdown of life as we know it, is the massive amount of information coming into our phones and computers about a huge range of things….some wonderful photographs, humour, poetry, news, and of course plenty of scary stuff about the pending G5 heading our way. It is really a difficult call to make whether it will be a great advance in techno or will enable G5 and all of its ramifications to control our lives and even our thoughts in ways we cannot possibly imagine. Personally, I am very frightened if even a quarter of what I have read and studied about G5 is real. As my great old drug dealer friend Henry Friedman often said…….. “trust no man”. Sorry he was also a pharmacist in old time Jeppe Street.

Below please find an early indication of our hit parade come October. You will agree it is looking very good. In addition, I came across an old piece from the Times which I found on my late eccentric cousin Tom’s hard drive. It is pretty cute you will have to admit.  Also a link to a good article on the curve, which rather than being flattened needs to be crushed. Worth the read.
From Booktown Richmond we beg you to keep well and safe and healthy.

God Bess us Each and Every One,

Forever BoekBedonnerd.

Peter Baker (co-director of Bookbedonnerd, alongside Darryl David)

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PRESENTERS

Below is a list of writers that are headed to Richmond. Most have been confirmed, some are waiting to see if they survive the Corona virus😁. Or what their university commitments look like once Corona virus turmoil is over. Whilst a handful are on my hitlist whilst I search for their email addresses 🤭🤭. As you can see the list is quite well advanced, given that the SA INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS AWARDS entrants are still to be factored in.

  1. Pieter Louis Myburgh to be confirmed (t.b.c) Gangster State & The Republic of Gupta
  2. Prof Kathy Munro The Humble Post Card & Karoo Heritage
  3. Prof Ashwin Desai Wentworth and the Beautiful Game
  4. Carla van der Spuy Plaasmoorde & Blood on her Hands
  5. Nico Moolman Russia in the Anglo Boer War
  6. Diana Ferrus TBA
  7. Gaireyah Fredericks & Jaja Binks Kaaps oppie Richterskaal
  8. Hannes Visser. Die dag toe pa
  9. Steve Wimberley Adventures of Dr Grumble
  10. Dorian Haarhoff Writing Workshops
  11. ATKV Schools Project/ Storytelling
  12. Prof Carman Miller Anglo Boer War
  13. Antony Osler (t.b.c) Spinning a Yarn & Zen master storyteller of the Karoo
  14. Angie Butler Shackleton’s Critic, the Life and Diaries of Eric Marshall
  15. Terry Crawford Brown (t.b.c)
  16. Carina Stander Die Bergengel
  17. Gisella Ullyatt Die waarheid oor duiwe
  18. Sandra Shell (t.b.c)
  19. Andrew Pike The Oceanos Rescue
  20. Philip Kretzman (t.b.c) Vet Tales
  21. Thomas Mollet Annie Dewani Murder
  22. Antoinette Pienaar (t.b.c) Spinning a Yarn
  23. Christine Barkhuizen le Roux. My naam is Prins, ek slaap met die lig aan

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BOOKTOWN RICHMOND | BOOKBEDONNERD BACKABUDDY CAUSE

Please help us keep Bookbedonnerd alive

Unfortunately as the Northern Cape Provincial Government is not in a position to support us to the degree required for Booktown Richmond to keep up with its commitments to our various programmes, we are having to look to Crowd Support in order to maintain and grow our efforts in the village. We are firmly committed to seeing that Booktown Richmond survives and indeed grows.  We have, even at this early stage an extremely exciting line-up of speakers, entertainers and activities including the introduction of Spinning-a-Yarn, A Festival of Storytelling and Oral Traditions, a first in South Africa.

To ensure that we survive and indeed grow, the planning committee has launched a backabuddy campaign aimed at crowd-funding the event. Please support by spreading the word and, if at all possible, making a financial contributing. Booktown Richmond is in your hands. Forever BoekBedonnerd….

You will find the particulars here << LINK |. We shall be most grateful. Thank you.

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SOUTH AFRICAN INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS AWARDS (SAIPA): CALL FOR ENTRIES

The SAIPA, hosted by Booktown Richmond is the only such competition to honour the best self-published books in South Africa. We accept books in all categories, except educational textbooks. From comics to memoirs to fiction to photography, we eagerly await your entries. If your book defies categorisation, we will create one!!! There is no entry fee. All you have to do is post 3 copies of your book to DARRYL DAVID who will then distribute the books to judges. However where judges are not Cape Town based, you will be required to post individual copies to judges.

See pages seven and eight for our 2019 SAIPA award winners which you can download here  << LINK |

For further details kindly contact Darryl David on ddavid@uwc.ac.za or 081 391 8689. We look forward to receiving your entries.

Postal Address.
UWC Bellville Campus
Faculty of Education
Room 68B

Forever BookBedonnerd

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SHEIK SHAKHBUT'S STORY

(From the Times circa 2000 but the original un-edited...who knows?)

Middle East Sheik Shakhbut bin Sultan, has five times a day for the past 30 years; thin, threadbare faced west, bowed low, and prayed for an oil strike . His realm of Abu Dhabi was desperately in need of some good luck . Up and down the Persian Gulf, the states of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran were rolling in oil wealth . But year after year, Abu Dhabi’s 25,000 sq. miles of sand, date palms and barren offshore islands just got hotter, more humid and windswept than before.. Perpetual truce . But then Allah responded to the Sheik's prayers belatedly, but in overwhelming measure . Two vast oilfields have been tapped by British drilling teams, one at Murjan in the sandy interior, the other in the shallow coastal waters of the gulf . Conservative oilmen estimate Abu Dhabi’s proven oil reserves at about 3.8 billion bbl., which at present royalty rates would return some $1.4 billion over the years . Ridiculous, say other experts : on the basis of latest discoveries, reserves may be as great as 38 billion bbl. . This has all been rather unsettling to Abu Dhabi, whose 15,000 Bedouins have got along for centuries on piracy, pearl fishing and intertribal raids . In the 19th century, the swift pirate dhows were swept from the Gulf by Britain, which established " a perpetual maritime truce " hence the name trucial states, given to Abu Dhabi and six other Sheikdoms . Pearl fishing became unprofitable when the Japanese cleverly introduced cultured pearls to the world . There was nothing left to Abu Dhabi but intrigue : of the twelve predecessors of the present Sheik, only three died peacefully in their palace beds . The rest were either murdered or violently deposed, usually by close relatives . Sheik Shakhbut took over in 1928 when his uncle was assassinated, after having earlier killed Shakhbut's father who, in turn, had come to power by killing his older brother . Shakhbut is said to have ruled so long and safely only because his own two brothers swore a solemn oath on the Koran not to murder him . Bugs in the treasury . In his long years of oil-less rule, Sheik Shakhbut ran his country on customs duties of $140,000 a year, fought some desultory wars with his neighbors in Sharjah and Dubai, and lived quietly in his mud-walled palace on an offshore island . He installed an air conditioner in his bedroom but seldom used it because he disliked the noise . He also put in a flush toilet and a pump to supply it with water ; sewage disposal was simply a pipe jutting out from the palace wall . Nearly every day, the Sheik sat cross-legged in his throne room holding a majlis, at which he listened to complaints of citizens, while Bedouin chiefs grouped around him, some holding on their wrists the hooded falcons that were Abu Dhabi’s only status symbol . When the oil revenues began to flow in last year, everyone expected great things of Sheik Shakhbut . But it soon developed that what Shakhbut liked to do with money was count it, not spend it . He refused to accept checks from the oil companies, at first kept his cash under his bed . When the bedsprings began to bulge, he had the cash carted to a palace dungeon . It was only after rats began nibbling at the treasure chests and insects started eating the folding money that Shakhbut reluctantly agreed to accept the principle of banking . He now flourishes an outsize checkbook, emblazoned with the red and white flag of Abu Dhabi, but he still hates to sign checks . Putting off payday . Britain, which has a mother-hen relationship to the allegedly independent trucial states, last year promoted an Abu Dhabi development program calling for $70 million worth of roads, schools and public works . Sheik Shakhbut, 58, accepted the plan only in theory. Businessmen dealing with the Sheik have a tendency to overnight grey hair . " he simply asks for 50 per cent in every business deal ! / sputtered a Levantine entrepreneur . Shakhbut may amiably concede that he has signed a contract for work to be done, then adds cagily, " but I didn't say I would pay for it . " His penny pinching even extends to Abu Dhabi’s 470-man army : each soldier is paid personally by Shakhbut, who stalls off payday as long as possible . The Sheik's mind resembles a revolving door . Since Abu Dhabi has virtually no water (a glass of water costs about the same as a glass of gin), there is a desperate need for modern equipment to distill sea water . But the Sheik has three times shifted the location of a proposed new distillation plant and may well shift it three or 30 times more . Groaned a frustrated British engineer : " we frequently do six weeks' work for nothing . " The British produced plans to make Abu Dhabi city into a glittering modern capital that would be the pride of the Persian Gulf, but as fast as engineers lay out a new Boulevard, Shakhbut grants permission to a local merchant to build a store in the middle of it . Fishy freshness . In an effort to broaden the Sheik's outlook, oilmen and the British government have given him red-carpet trips to Paris, London and New York . What interested him most was the large number of automobiles in the three cities . " Keep the cars going, " he said earnestly, thinking happily of the future consumption of Abu Dhabi gasoline . New York city struck him as a  “ town where people are not civilized . They live like ants or swallows in cliffs .  The sun never gets down into the streets . " he was appalled by tv westerns : " all that shooting upsets the basis of good government ! " what delights shakhbut is the traditional life of his people . " the thing that pleases me most, " he says, " is hunting for bustards with our falcons . It's tremendous to see the falcon fighting the bustard and killing it . Each falcon has its own special owner and refuses to hunt for anyone else . " the sheik is also a connoisseur of camel's milk his only drink and can tell by the milk's taste what the camel has been eating and where it was in the desert for the best milk, he explains, we feed camels on sea mangrove and dried fish . This gives the milk a slightly fishy freshness we appreciate . " Shakhbut once owned a Cadillac, but when it finally broke down he just abandoned it . Now he makes his state visits in a bone-jarring Land-Rover, but without enthusiasm . " I did all my traveling by camel in the old days, " he sighs, " but now I have to go by car because if the ruler went by camel, people would think it peculiar.

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BACK TO COVID-19

American based but universal truths ….worth the read: Stop Trying to Flatten the Covid-19 Curve. It's Time To 'Crush' It  << LINK |

Finally, Professor of Medicine/Health Research & Policy/Biomedical Data Science/Statistics at Stanford, Dr John Ioannidis, shares this cautionary in the following interview (see the link below):   

... but I think that the estimates are exaggerated and I think there is a risk that we are really making some fundamental decisions about the structure of our civilization, about our society, about our future that may not be appropriate. I think we have no clue how a society would work if you need to build it around a construct where everything is done from a distance ... but thinking of a society that is entirely imprisoned and telecommunicating is a very different beast. I'm not even sure it is tenable. It creates a very different environment for our ethics, for our ability to socialise, for democracy, for what it means to be human and our perception of risk and how to deal with risk. I think it is very early to doom our world in a future that seems really horrible … I'm in sheltering place myself now ... I'm OK with this but I want to get the data to decide whether that should stop, and I think it's inadmissible not to get these data within two or three weeks ... there's too much at stake and if you tell me you're in sheltering place why don't you break that now, well I have no data, I'm blind, and I would still be acting in a blind fashion and this is not something I would expect given our capacity to have good science inform us.
 
Perspectives on the Pandemic | Dr John Ioannidis of Stanford University | Interview  << LINK |
BUILDING COMMUNITY THROUGH SKILLS DEVELOPMENT TRAINING
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