Monday, August 31, 2009

A Monkeys' Wedding

OneStonedCrow Pics

When I was a kid, my mama told me that if it rains and the sun shines at the same time it's known as "A Monkeys' Wedding".

I'm interested to know if there's any specific term for, or folklore attached to, this type of occurrence in your part of the world or in your culture.

I photographed this double rainbow at sunset, it was at the edge of a thunderstorm and light rain was falling, ... It seemed so close that I thought I could make it to the pot of gold, ... but then I became confused and couldn't make up my mind which one to head for ...

... alas, I'm still a poor man ... :)


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Kenyan Artist - Martin Bulinya

Martin Bulinya


Namibia's Secret Desert - Part 1

OneStonedCrow Pics

Less well known than the much photographed giant-dunes in the Northwest of Namibia is the Southern Desert.

This is the area south and southeast of Luderitz - much of it is stunning mountain desert.

I can't put my finger on the exact reason why I love the desert so much, it fills me with a strange "power", a sense of freedom and heightened energy - maybe it's because here I can see forever.

At times it's like being in a time machine; when I look out on some scenes I am experiencing the exact same moment hundreds of thousands of years in the past, if you can wrap your mind around what I'm trying to say ...

A friend once said to me that the desert is ideal "Aries" country; that it complements the Aries spirit, ... well, I don't really know about that astrology stuff, but his opinion does seem spot-on in my case.

With the recently opened
|Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier National Park this part of the country is now more accessible and is receiving more visitors.

I'm not an expert photographer and find it difficult to capture the essence of this wonderland. You can find more Part 2 here


Saturday, August 29, 2009

There's a Rumour going 'round that We Won ...

Ron Cobb

"Some selections from Ron Cobb's 'My Fellow Americans' published in 1970. I've had this book since I was a kid. A friend gave it to me. I'd have to count Cobb among my influences as I spent a lot of time looking at this collection back then as well as his first, 'Raw Sewage.'

What I always liked about his work was its controlled rage. The drawing is always neat and meticulous while the concepts are often boiling over with anger and disgust."

Wow! There are other powerful images here and a Google search will yield even more.

This is the first time I've seen Ron Cobb's work - to my knowledge his books were never sold in Africa.

The messages in his cartoons are just as valid today as they were in the early seventies.


How Much Is That Doggy In The Window?

OneStonedCrow Pic

I was walking around in Luderitz a while ago, I happened to look up and saw this fellow peering down at me from the top of a two-story building .... woof! woof!


Friday, August 28, 2009

Riding an Ostrich

Photo Credit: Unknown

Riding an Ostrich, Cawston Ostrich Farm, South Pasadena, California


Magic Rock

OneStonedCrow Pic

This is one of my favorite rocks - I found it near the Orange River in southern Namibia - and I keep it locked in a showcase along with my crystal collection. It's a bit smaller than a tennis ball, naturally shiny and the double white band runs right around it. When you hold it, it just feels "right' in your hand - if you know what I mean ...


Colonial Architecture Of Lüderitz

OneStonedCrow Pics

Lüderitz is a harbor town in southern Namibia, lying on one of the least hospitable coasts in Africa.

It was founded in 1883 when Heinrich Vogelsang purchased Angra Pequena and some of the surrounding land on behalf of Adolf Lüderitz, a hanseat from Bremen in Germany, from the local Nama chief.

Lüderitz began its life as a trading post, with other activities in fishing and guano-harvesting. In 1909, after the discovery of diamonds nearby, Lüderitz enjoyed a sudden surge of prosperity. Today, however, diamonds are mostly found elsewhere and offshore, and Lüderitz has lost a lot of this interest.

The town is known for its colonial architecture, including some Art Nouveau work, and for wildlife including seals, penguins, flamingos and ostriches.

More of my pics of Lüderitz here.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cape Coral Snake - Aspidelaps lubricus lubricus

OneStonedCrow Pics

Aspidelaps lubricus lubricus

This colorful specimen, about 40cm long, was captured on a neighbor's veranda one evening and contained in a cooler box overnight.

The next day I went into the desert to release it, hoping to take some cool pics in it's natural environment. Hah! ... as soon as I tipped the box over it attacked me; most of the shots turned out fuzzy because I was too busy dodging and running. Eventually it maneuvered itself close to a small scrub bush and disappeared.

It is well known for being a very bad-tempered snake, even after years in captivity.

The Coral snake eats lizards, other small snakes and rodents.

Virtually nothing is known about the venom of this snake, though it is believed to be dangerously neurotoxic (nerve destroying).


Some Bugs In My World


These little creatures appear after the first good rains in December. The largest they get is about 1cm fat and they shine like red velvet in the sunlight, some birds eat them. They're known locally as "Christmas Spiders", maybe because they're first seen just before Christmas, or maybe because they look like miniature Santas in their furry red suits. They're not real spiders though, I can only count six legs and two "feelers". They don't bite when handled.


I don't know the difference between a grasshopper and a locust, if it's a matter of size then this colorful creature is definitely a locust, about 8cm long. I've only ever seen one specimen like this.

OneStonedCrow Pics

I've named this an "AWACS Bug" because it resembles the spy plane, I don't know what it's called and I don't have any insect books to research it. What's in a name anyway, it's still pretty hey?


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Outhouse - Thank Heavens For Flush Toilets

The term outhouse usually refers to a type of toilet in a small structure separate from the main building which does not have a flush and is not attached to a sewer.

In Australia the outdoor toilet is frequently referred to as a dunny or "thunderbox".

In New Zealand such toilets are referred to as 'long-drops'.

The term "kybo" is popular within the Scout Movement worldwide.

Credits: Unknown

I hate using a dunny - that mysterious, musty hole never fails to scare the crap out of me ... it's probably got something to do with a silly childhood fear I had; of a monster hand emerging from the toilet bowl to rip my nuts off ...

One farmer I know of got nailed on the butt by a Zebra Cobra in her outhouse one night - she suffered for years afterwards from the effects of the venom.

Surprisingly, even the great Mr Bob Dylan has a thunderbox - apparently it's been blowing in the wind and his neighbors are causing a stink about it.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Shebeens And Shenanigans

Three Way Divorce Club

Papa Carlitos

Mike's Shebeen

Jealous Down

Zit Bar

Australia Oukwanyama

A few pics of the many shebeens, (or 'Cuca Shops' as they're known locally), found throughout Namibia, ... some of them have really funny names.

They are popular social gathering spots and are a means by which people make a living in a country with a high unemployment rate.

Most Cuca Shops are licensed and legal.

However, as in many other places in the world, alcohol abuse and the evils associated with it, is a serious problem in Namibia.

The word shebeen is of Irish origin - sibin in Irish Gaelic.

Cuca Shop is derived from a Portuguese make of Cuca Beer.


Erotic Rocks Rock

OneStonedCrow Pic

I don't remember taking this pic, I only noticed it when I downloaded from my camera, ... snapping it must have been a subliminal reaction. Is it only me? Does it look like these rocks have been ... oh, never mind ... :)


Monday, August 24, 2009

Baobab Toilet Tree

OneStonedCrow Pics

I photographed this Baobab tree (Adansonia digitata) in Katima Mulilo, northern Namibia. It had been hollowed out and a long-drop toilet installed. Unfortunately, the door was jammed so I couldn't get a pic of the inside. I didn't want to try and force the door in case i found something unpleasant ...

Apparently, at Kasane in Botswana, one of these giant trees was once used as a prison.

According to Palgrave: Trees Of Southern Africa, "... very large specimens - those with a diameter of 8 m - may well be over 3,000 years old"

Also, "... it is small wonder that these extraordinary trees are surrounded by a wealth of African legend and superstition. There is a well-known tale that God planted them upside down and another that a lion will devour anyone rash enough to pluck a flower from a Baobab tree, for the blossoms are believed to be inhabited by spirits"


Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Pox On Pedophiles

A while ago, en route to Cape Town by car, we stopped at a filling station to refuel. I was in the front passenger seat and, as we pulled up to the pumps, out of the corner of my eye I noticed another parked vehicle with a young girl of about 13 or 14 sitting in the back seat.

Less than a minute later the girl got out of the car, walked to within about 10 meters of me, thrust out her already ample boobs and, smiling broadly, looked straight into my eyes.

I stared at her for a second or two then turned away, - unsmiling.

Whatever her reason for singling me out for her attentions, (it's probable that, having reached puberty, she was testing her femininity), I felt deeply ashamed of myself for not returning her smile.

I'm not an unfriendly person and obviously I was in no danger of being seduced. So why could I not smile back, just acknowledge her presence?

The truth is that I was afraid that someone might see me smile at her and take me for a pedophile, - as simple as that.

We often hear how sexual predators are usually the most unlikely suspects, the 'Mr Cleans'; of children being abused by the very people entrusted to take care of them. I think that this has led some adults to be wary about being too friendly with kids.

This was not the first time I've shunned contact with children for fear that my intentions could be misinterpreted: The local boy and girl Scout troops sometimes camped at my smallholding and, while they were there, unless specifically asked to give a talk on nature, I stayed inside and avoided contact with them.

What has happened in our society, when we are afraid to communicate and share life experiences with children because of others' perversions?

Am I being unduly paranoid? Do any of you have the same fears and, how do you deal with it?

A pox on pedophiles for destroying our relationships with kids.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Quiver Trees - Aloe dichotoma

Quiver Tree and weathered dolerite rock dykes, the white marking on the rock is caused by the excrement of rock rabbits

OneStonedCrow Pics
Sociable Weaver Nest ... the nest is decades old

Aloe dichotoma, also known as Quiver tree or Kokerboom, is a species of aloe indigenous to Namibia and the Northern Cape region of South Africa. Known as 'Choje' to the indigenous San people, the Quiver tree gets its name from the San practice of hollowing out the tubular branches of Aloe dichotoma to form quivers for their arrows.

According to Wikipedia, 'Aloe dichotoma is cultivated in the southwestern United States for use in landscaping. The slow growth rate and relative rarity of the plant make it a particularly expensive specimen.'

You can see more of my Quiver Tree pics here


Thursday, August 20, 2009


It's the second time that I've spotted a bright object in the Eastern desert sky at sunrise.

This is the best I could do with a 300mm lens.

Enlarged slightly - I can't see an aircraft body or wings?

OneStonedCrow Pics

It slowly disappeared behind the mountains before the sun rose in a cloudless sky.

Any ideas? ... please don't suggest that it's the Flying Spaghetti Monster - I don't believe in her ...


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Soul Sister

OneStonedCrow Pic

This is Stoffel - my animal 'soul-mate'.

Friends confiscated her from some soldiers in a bar 24 years ago. She was a babe, about two months old, (her mother had probably been shot to get at her, which is usually how they're stolen from the wild). My friends could not keep her because they lived in a town and asked if I would be willing to care for her ...

... the instant Stoffel set eyes on me, she jumped straight into my arms and began smacking her lips and grooming me; thus began a profoundly strange, intense and at times, frustrating friendship. She regards me as her alpha monkey "husband", she's insanely jealous and gets very uptight if anyone,(especially a woman), approaches me. She would, I believe, defend me to the death against any attacker and has, on occasion, saved my butt by alerting me to the presence of snakes.

When she was about eight months old she climbed a power pylon and was electrocuted. The vet managed to save her, but had to amputate her left arm and tail. Her disability has not affected her zest for life or her agility. I suspect though, that being tailless gives her more reason to think she's human. Her accident probably triggered a protective response in me and caused me to give her a lot more attention than I otherwise might have.

Given the close human contact she's had from an early age,(my family is the only 'troop' she knows), it was inevitable that she take on human attributes. Conversely, having interacted so closely with her, I have become somewhat monkey-like,(the same thing happened to Dian Fossey of "Gorillas In The Mist" fame). Anyone who's been really close to a cat or dog may understand what I mean.

Throughout the years she's tested my human friendships and cost me dearly in property damage. I had to have her razor-sharp incisors removed because she would often fly into a mindless rage and bite people; which could have had fatal consequences.

She has trained me to secure all valuables, medications, booze and anything that can be dismantled. For example, I have to shut-down and lock my laptop away every time I leave my desk, otherwise she'll chew the keys off. But, it's when she raids my stash that I get most upset ...

I also take care of two other rescued Vervet monkeys. I try to keep an emotional distance from them, they're housed in a large cage outside. It is difficult,(though not impossible), to rehabilitate these creatures back into the wild, but it requires dedicated time and resources, neither of which I have. The best I can do is to provide them with food, shelter and a secure environment where they are not teased or tormented.

I could write many pages and thousands of words about the fur people and their antics but, ... right now, it's time for another grooming session ...

You can see more pics of Stoffel, Tumbili and Lucky here.

... and for the record, I'm opposed to the practice of keeping primates as "pets", or in any other form of captivity, ... they should be left where they belong: ... in the wild, swinging freely from the trees ...


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Keep Off The Grass

I don't know exactly why, but I took this sign personally. Maybe it's that 'There but for fortune go I' - thing in the back of my mind.

Granted, I did hitch-hike thousands of miles in my youth, but it was not out of necessity, it was an adventure, ... 'searching' for someone who, as it turned out, was never lost in the first place ...

I think it's the authoritarian tone that makes me want to raise my middle-finger, like those "no spitting, no swearing, no nothing" -type signs.

Whatever, I digress, ... I think the ones that bug me most and which I've never been able to figure out, are those in-your-face "KEEP OFF THE GRASS" signs.

I mean, wtf is the purpose of maintaining a lawn anyway? To contemplate the aesthetics of a densely-packed mass of shaved shoots? To watch them grow? To have a place to put a sign on?

To my mind, lawns are there to walk barefoot on; for kids to play, dogs to crap and lovers to screw on ...

"Keep off the grass" - Bah! ... Whenever I see one of these I go out of my way to nonchalantly trample the green, ... unless, of course, there's a sign saying: "Beware Of The Dog".

OneStonedCrow Pics

Coitus Interruptus

OneStonedCrow Pic

This is a sign outside an ostrich farm on one of the highways leading into Cape Town, South Africa.

I don't know exactly why they frown upon hooting, ... perhaps it puts the birds off their stride or something ...

I wonder if cheering is allowed when the deed is done?

Image Credit: Unknown