Zimbabwe - The Empty Black Box.

"Patrick Chinamasa yesterday presented a US$4,1 billion budget which offers the country no hope as no serious measures were proposed to spark a sustainable resurgence in the economy already sliding back in the aftermath of disputed general elections in July which gobbled US$175,5 million."

Chinamasa budget offers no hope, no rescue

From the Zimbabwean Independent, dated 20 December, 2013

The little black (Christmas) box...

Opps! Merry Christmas boys!

Movies: Ones to Watch - 'The Canyons', '2 Guns', 'Europa Report'.

Thought this week I would give some competing reviews, rather than stick to my favorite New York Times movie review site.

So it's interesting to note the effort and detail put into the two reviews by The New York Times writers, and flipped, throw away dismissal of them by Peter Travers in Rolling Stone Magazine.

As ever, the viewers will be the judges...

'The Canyons' review by Manohla Dargis in The New York Times wrties of a film (that) "...is a dispiriting, unpleasurable work punctuated with flashes of vitalizing vulgarity. It isn’t a good movie in terms of the conventional norms (acting for starters), but it also exhibits a crude integrity."

See: The Cellphone Gets Its Close-Up - ‘The Canyons’ Is an Erotic Thriller With Lindsay Lohan

Compare and contrast with ".. If the subtext of this misbegotten parade of lame shock tactics is the death of cinema, then The Canyons certainly knows how to nail the coffin shut. "

See: The Canyans review by Tarvers.

Movies: The Wolverine - Another one Not to Watch.

' Wolverine is worse than Spider-Man 3. It might actually be worse than X-Men: The Last Stand. It’s the kind of movie that’s so terrible that you find yourself genuinely curious as to which drugs the people responsible for this film were taking, and where you might be able to procure some. It’s so bad it comes through the other end and resolves into a sort of shell-shocked hilarity.'

Read this great critic by Rachel Edidin, writing in Wired Magazine

Looking Back at X-Men Origins: Wolverine — Yep, Still Terrible

Read to the review to the end - amazing...

'...no better moment to establish the tone of this movie than a six-year-old in Wolverine’s traditional berserker-rage pose, arms outstretched, claws out, yelling “NOOOOOOOOOO!” at the sky.'

China: End of the Rush.

Every man and his dog are getting on to the Chinese GDP slowdown issue, and for those interested, here are a selection of articles from Project Syndicate and Stratfor that have appeared over the past few days,  but first lets start with the Macqaurie Bank GDP downgrade from Tuesday, 16 July, 2013:

  • China: Macquarie Bank Downgrades GDP Growth Sharply. - 2013 / 7.3%, 2014 / 6.9%, 2015 / 6.5% and 2016 / 6.0%. It should be remembered that less than 18 months ago a Chinese GDP growth rate of less that 8% was considered to be really bad news.

  • Recognizing the End of the Chinese Economic Miracle (23 July, 2013) by George Friedman from Stratfor - 'The admission that a crisis exists is a critical moment, because this is when most others start to change their behavior in reaction to the crisis'.

  • China's Geopolitical Fallout (24 July, 2013) by Robert D. Kaplan, also writing in Stratfor - 'The biggest question in international affairs has nothing to do with Syria or Iran going nuclear. It has to do with the state of the Chinese economy...'

  • China’s End of Exuberance (23 July, 2013) by Michael Spence writing in Project Syndicate - 'With significant elements of the global economy and external demand facing headwinds, China’s acceptance (so far) of a growth slowdown, while its new growth engines kick in, is a good sign, in my view.'
  • China Grows Down (25 July, 2013) by Andrew Sheng and Xiao Geng, also writing in Project Syndicate - 'For more than three decades, China’s GDP has grown by an average of more than 10% annually. But former Premier Wen Jiabao rightly described this impressive growth performance as “unstable, unbalanced, uncoordinated, and unsustainable,” highlighting the many economic, social, and environmental costs and challenges that have accompanied it.'
  • And finally, again from Project SyndicateThe Politics of a Slowing China by Minxin Pei - 'The recent financial turmoil in China, with interbank loan rates spiking to double digits within days, provides further confirmation that the world’s second-largest economy is headed for a hard landing. '

Whichever way you look at it, China is entering into new and more turbulent waters, which will affect us all.

Of Pigs and Men: Ossabaw - The Isle of Hogs.

'...Ossabaw Island, a 26,000-acre paradise off the Georgia coast. Ossabaw, which you say with a soft, honeyed "uh" at the end, was the first heritage preserve in the state of Georgia...

Recent genetic testing shows that Ossabaw hogs are distant cousins of pigs from the Canary Islands, suggesting that the Spanish stopped there for supplies on the way to the New World. True Ossabaw hogs are small in stature, with round little bellies, dark bristly hairs and ears that point forward like a terrier’s. The boars have small tusks. Their tails hang straight down like props in a game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey.'

From The Isle of Hogs by Ariel Ramchandani

As published in The Economist's More Intelligent Life Magagzine.

Zimbabwe: Whilst Fools Think.

Latest from Baba Jukwa's Facebook page, reproduced below with (bad) translation(s), and some light editing;

Bolding is my own...

"Whilst fools in my party are thinking that President Mugabe is campaigning for the party, some of us know that he has embarked on a mission yekuonekana navanhu. (departing and people)

He carefully planned his rallies and limited them to 10 so as to evenly distribute them to 10 Provinces, where all agree that he is appearing frail and dying. 

His mission ndeyo kubhaibhisa vanhu (creaky, flapping and people) when stupid skunks think he is campaigning. 

He has told us his confidantes that he wants to rest for the few years still remaining in his life, if the prostate cancer doesn't take his life by the end of the year as warned by his Malaysian and Singaporean doctors. 

The man is just going to have 10 rallies and go into hibernation thereafter announce his acceptance of the people's verdict and thank the people of Zimbabwe for the time he served and go straight to retirement. 

This is what will happen whilst blood thirsty idiots like Emmerson Mnangagwa and Saviour Kasukuwere thinks that they will still have time to be saved. 

In our millions in the coming 11 days we shall heed the call of President Mugabe by voting him into retirement."