Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fear prophets and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them.

Fear prophets and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them - Umberto Eco

I am not going to get into a religion bashing session here. It's incredible the responses to the blog as soon as religion is mentioned. I love this quote from the author of a really great book called 'The name of the Rose' though. One thing I do need to mention is how religion shifts so much over time so that what was once seen as a necessary doctrine is the past, is now seen as incredibly barbaric and evil. Bash!The Spanish Conquistadors that pulled into South America with the representatives of the church and King made it pretty simple to the locals. Simply say you believe in our God and we shall grant you the luxury of living on a little. If you don't take our guy on board we kill you now - and they did.Bash! Hundreds of thousands of them. Bash!And took their gold of course. Bash!
The thing is, those Inca's were not much better in the wily-nilly-killing stakes. Their religious zealots would sacrifice just as many over the years in the hope that cutting a slave or young womens heart out would make their big guy happy and they could then relax and enjoy the good life.Bash!
Of course today religion is very different. You don't see a priest next to his Sunday pulpit calling up the young girls in the crowd to lie down for a bit on his alter while he whips their hearts out. How could he, that would be evil. He warns against such behaviour and many others and gives you guidance on how to live your life. Besides , they seem to like little boys more these days anyway. Bash!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"Jerry stick a fork in me...I'm done." Kramer

What a way to describe that you are finished with something, or something is finished with you. Kramer is an actor that has made me laugh harder than most when Seinfeld used to be on the air. The quote above is so final and you can use it for many a situation. I've used it after falling asleep on the beach and waking up in some scorching sun. There was no debate, that session was over, I was done. More than five tequila's will do me, I once ate a loaf of bread and was done. Riding 900km in 8 days over mountains this year did me good and proper.
I have only reached 2min 20sec watching Georgie Bush before I am done. A lot of my friends have got a few toddlers running around. When they have used up all their energy those little dudes are hilarious. Fighting to keep their eye's open while their heads loll about like they can't remember which way it should be pointing. They are truly done.
Kramer (Michael Richards) was doing some stand up comedy the other day and a guy started heckling him. He added some racist slander into his piece to get back at the guy and it all kicked off. It seems Chris Rock can go as crazy as he likes when having a go at his own race, but there are a separate set of comedian laws for the likes of Kramer. Well after a court case or two Kramer is in the clear, but has hung up his comedy boots. Seems he is done.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In America, through pressure of conformity, there is freedom of choice, but nothing to choose from – Peter Ustinov

Pressure to conform. It's everywhere but could it be starting to crumble? They call it the American dream, but unlike a dream which is hazy and whimsical, this is a clear benchmark that the citizens are taught to strive for at all costs. The the measurables are cars, jobs and houses and anything outside of this is seen as the wrong life direction. The pressure builds and clever people make sure they take advantage of one's need to conform by trapping you in deeper and deeper ... normally with credit and debt. The individual is the only one to blame of course. Humans have an incredible ability to make our own choices. Another ability crushes its compatriot of choice at most every turn. This one is called laziness. Not the laziness that keeps you on the couch with your feet up, but laziness of the little gray cells in your skull. You will have heard that our brains use less than 10% of their capacities. There is no cap that stops us at that point though. Nothing stopping us putting more of those little buggers to work. We are provided with a lazy option with pressure to fit into it and most gladly accept it. Those that stand out in the western world have gone against that option and are enjoying seeing a little more of what the planet has to offer. In the case of the USA, life paths were so spelled out to those meandering along it that it was a huge effort to take another route.

This quote was made a while back by one of my favourite actors and it is great to see that things are shifting. The late Peter Ustinov saw much of the world as an eccentric Belgian sleuth in Agatha Christie murder novels. He could see the self imposed constraints in the USA with clarity as he moved from country to new country in his vast career which spanned from the 1950's till his death in 2004. Just a few years later and there is a good chance of a black president with a women as vice-president for the USA - who would have entertained that thought just a decade ago? Certainly not the current clown at their helm.
The pressure may well be crumbling. The results not always pretty on the surface and many are falling victim along the way to the self imposed constraints of the past, that tumble abrasively downward, causing suffering for those nestled too close to what was once perceived as such sturdy walls. There will be a lot more tumbling to come if the planet is to survive.

Post Script: Peter Ustinov wanted his epitah to read "Please keep of the grass".

Monday, May 26, 2008

A refusal of praise is a desire to be praised twice - Fran├žois, Duc De La Rochefoucauld

Humility is a fantastic trait to include in your personality quiver. Do you have friends that posses this trait? Do you have humid friends? (Ha ha ... clearly I don't know the correct word for that one).
If you do have some humid friends, I hope you are not getting mixed up with those that cannot accept praise.
This is something that gets to me in this modern age. Somewhere along the line many people seem to have adopted a notion that accepting a compliment is a show of some form of arrogance. That the compliment should rather be rebutted and pushed back at the sender as the intended recipient silently gloats in the words with what must be a certain amount of guilt.
I have a friend who when being interviewed after a great game of rugby would always say thanks when his skills were mentioned. After thanking the interviewer he would then include his team mates in the praise. I think that is a lot more honest than denying it was he that played well and bestowing the honours to someone else. How many women these days, when told they look outstanding in a new pair of winter boots (this winter it seems to be wellington boots?), or a evening dress, will feign indifference even though they have agonised for hours over what sort of reaction they will get? My good buddy and running partner always lets me join in his delight when reaching his targets that I know he has trained so diligently for, by saying thanks and acknowledging the achievement before we talk about the run piece by piece. Now if I could just get someone to notice my new 100% cotton, fitted boxer shorts.

post script: Check out the wellies

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I never comment on referees and I'm not going to break the habit of a lifetime for that prat - Ewan McKenzie

Having some grip on the English language can be great fun and empowering. We don't always expect such quick thinking from say a huge Rugby player that has been bashed around in the 'engine room' his whole career and is now a coach. I love this answer he gives during an interview though. Clearly he is not happy with the referee, but manages to get his view across really effectively with some clever sentence structure and deliverance.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The intelligence of the creature known as a crowd, is the square root of the number of the people in it … Terry Pratchett

Have you ever been in a great mass of people and felt that you are not quite yourself? The combined energy is quite apparent and depending on who that crowd contains it can be extremely dangerous.
Over the last two weeks there have been two scenes in the news that have chilled my bones. The first one was the Rangers football fans rioting in Manchester. Those who could not get tickets (150 000 of them) went berserk when the giant TV screens that were set up outside the stadium malfunctioned 10 min before the kick-off. These football fans attacked the technicians trying to work on the problem and police stepped in. It all kicked off and for the next 8 hours they rioted through the streets of Manchester. There is one scene which is just too scary, as you watch the normal every day idiots turn into maniacs ready to kill. A policeman on the retreat in the face of the mob trips and the hundreds of fans pounced on him like a pack of wolves. Watch the video on this link, it is incredible to see the behaviour of what would have been your basic idiot shouting abuse at the TV if he was at home, turned to killing machine in a mass of bad energy that a crowd like that creates:

Watching that one has a taste of the potential and just kind of wonders at how quickly and scary it happens. Now take that dark energy to another level, and you will find yourself in some murky places in Johannesburg. Areas near and in Alexandria township where my older bother and I used to ride our BMX's in the early 1980's, or play we were heroes roaming the veld. I won't say there was not a care in the world, but seeing those same fields become battle grounds this weekend was scary stuff. This time the South Africans that lived in Alexandria township seemed to have reached a tipping point and attacked those Zimbabweans that had fled from their own country. The results a far cry from the broken ribs and bruises that the policeman in body armour received in Manchester. This crowd's energy was so dark and what must have been some pent up anger and issues festering under the surface, was let loose in horrific attacks. The Zimbabweans were hacked at, set alight and murdered.
I don't feel it is much different to Armies of soldiers from any country. These pawns of Governments almost always report that they loose sight of the actual reason (that they have been fed) for the war and just keep on at it. Each soldier caught up in the group and acting out the evils that armies can.
Be careful when you get caught in a crowd. It's too easy to become a part of something bad. You'll probably feel it in the mall during Christmas time when there are so many people walking around stressed out and not quite taking part in what is supposed to be a merry time, or a heated meeting at a school or council of some sorts. The great thing it is so easy to pull yourself away. Just a simple decision to not be a part of it and that's it. The problem is that I think you will naturally be a part of it unless you proactively make that decision. Keep your IQ square and not square rooted.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

"Billions of blue bilious blistering barnacles in a thundering typhoon" Captain Haddock

It's brilliant to find someone who knows how to swear colourfully with a certain purity. The obvious words get boring when people use them all the time. The words loose the shock factor and just make the user sound a little dull. Now when you hear your Gran burst forth with an "oh shit" or you are fortunate enough to catch Riaan Kruywagen cussing on a mic that has not been switched off when the news guys are having some technical difficulties , that's a little more interesting.
One old chap who has always kept me highly entertained with his flamboyant and passionate outbursts is the grisly Captain Haddock of Tin Tin fame. He just seems so into it when he lets go with abandon.

Friday, May 16, 2008

In the beginning there was nothing. God said, 'Let there be light!' And there was light. There was still nothing, but you could see it a whole lot bet

In the beginning there was nothing. God said, 'Let there be light!' And there was light. There was still nothing, but you could see it a whole lot better. Ellen DeGeneres

It is quite funny stuff to see those wrapped in their religion, complete with blinkers and rhino thick skin, taking excerpts from their good book and perverting the words to give a meaning that will fit into the context of their lives. Humans have for the most part lost the ability to communicate in anywhere near the way our ancestors did. Some of it due to change and some of it due to laziness and loosing touch with what we are. It's easy to choose a likeness in our world as it is now, and to match an identity to those old chaps of the Bible who went cruising around doing there thing. It's easy because that way it all makes sense in our world so that it fits in and is comfortable.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion. George Bernard Shaw

With the sub-prime housing disaster in the USA, drop in property value in the UK and 40% increase in food prices in both those countries things are not looking as rosy as they have in the last 30 years. Add to that the huge increase in the price of oil (one of the reasons food prices are so much higher) and the economists out there are being pulled every which way to predict what will happen in the future. After all people are shitting themselves that they won't be able to afford their next holiday on the slopes or upgrade their BMW from the xzk200R to the xzl300S. Okay there are some legitimate fears ... like my best mate who, with the fear of making a loss, will now not sell his London home that he has DIY'ed into a page from a IKEA catalogue. It also means he and his wife have put a hold on the return to the mother land and all the more chance he will be calling me 'mate' when he does come home.
Needing my favourite drinking buddy back in my hometown, I have taken to reading or listen to a few of these economists from a wide variety of platforms waiting on the call that all will be just fine and dandy if we manage to wait it all out. The only clear thing to come out of their accumulative speculations is that each one has his/her own decisive conclusions which are never the same as the next one I listen too. All are all pretty dour mind you, as they stick their necks out of those designer shirts and well tailored suites to proclaim a totally different cause for the gloom to the next one.
Only with hind-site can we go back and plot these details to a wavelike graph, off course then it's all just too easy to point out what happened to result in a full tank of petrol costing about as much as the car it's being pumped into.
Fortunately for South Africa we do not have to worry about any of these economic woes. After all the World Cup is coming to the Republic in 2010 with wheelbarrows of cash in tow and a cure for all thirsty cars, empty pantries and ready to buy or rent what ever house's are on the market.

post script: Even with all the press of the rise in food prices, the largest super market chain in the UK has just posted a 28% profit. Nice one Sainsbury's.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The love of one's country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?' Pablo Casals

It might seem to those alive at this time that the world is consumed by warring countries. Perhaps it is higher than the average, but the shocking fact is that the humans of the earth have been at war for 97% of our stay here so far. I wonder why that is. I certainly have no answer. What I find strange is that there has been a tiny bit of time when the whole world is at peace. Well that is not particularly true. The 3% was not necessarily peaceful but more likely those times when the plague spread all over the planet or a natural disaster for man unfolded as the weather turned lethal.
Ironic that we only unite when we are threatened by the same cataclysmic scenario. So we are willing to forget that our neighbouring country calls there god this and us that, or that they have got some natural resource that we figure we could use, only when we are shown that in fact we are all in the same boat (you got to hope it is an ark when it's wet all around) and not as special or different from those we have decided to despise.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I stopped outside a church house Where the citizens like to sit They say they want the kingdom But they don't want God in it – Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash... it's a name that, as a youngster, I used to make sure never got passed the act of hearing. There was an automatic buffer set-up to make sure no more attention was paid to the mention of this type of name, a regulator to protect me from what I took to be not relevant or enjoyable to me. Other items on this list regulated by my buffer mechanism were things like: Beetroot (still on the list), Beethoven, anything Afrikaans, Ballet, jeans, pesto and right up until two weeks ago - Mango's.
Everyone will have their own list. My items were chosen with the briefest consideration and were avoided at all costs with great joy and dexterity. As the birthdays piled up though and the head brain develops, or at least changes, the buffer fades away like the hairline on my forehead.
Already I enjoy a dose of old Ludwig, had the most meaningful relationship with a beautiful Afrikaans angel, enjoyed the best days of my life so far at Stellenbosch University, was hypnotised by the genius of the Bolshevik Ballet, have four pairs of jeans, am trying to nick my little brothers basil plants to make some pesto and as I mentioned, have begun to enjoy the odd messy mango.
Johnny Cash, with his poignant lyrics and powerful sublime sound, is now one of my favourites. He came to my attention before his Bio movie Walk the Line was released. It was U2's lead singer and Africa's do-gooder Bono who did some meaningful collaboration with Johnny C. I watched an interview with Bono who explained that Johnny Cash had a huge influence in the development of U2's music. It turns out that was the case for many of the successful pop and rock musicians out there. Kind of like a white mans version of Stevie Wonder. Now when I listen, I can here a bit of Johny Cash is many a modern tune.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Get busy living, or get busy dying. - Andy Dufresne

The movie Shawshank Redemption is right up there at the top of many peoples favourite-movies list. It does have some gems. Did you know the movie is based on a Stephen King story? Clever stuff with some extreme feel good moments and clever stuff to entertain your little grey cells. The sneakily intelligent character of Andy Dufresne played by Tim Robbins delivers the quote above. A good one to remember when you wake up in the morning and don’t feel very inspired. Especially if you are one of those people that gets down when it’s your birthday because you are getting older. I have never really understood that one. I think of it as a celebration of the fact that I’ve been fortunate enough to be around for how ever many years and look forward to those that are still to come. If you get down upon yourself, you are turning up your nose in the face of your existence so far. Well that is your own fault buddy … snap out of it already and get busy living.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

To get something done, a committee should consist of no more than three men, two of whom are absent - Robert Copeland

It's the middle of the working week and you have probably had a hand full of meetings already right? What a waste of time they can be. How many times do you come from a meeting where the main result was that you just scheduled another few meetings in the future.
Now those meetings will basically be just the same, so you will be exponentially increasing the amount of meetings you go to until they totally dominate your time. Sound familiar? What a ball ache. And even if you are able to accept the fact that you will have to waste a few hours a day in meetings, there is still the almost impossible task of having to put up with the jerks that live off talking crap to other people. A decent survival technique is to play a kind of hangman game. Write down those cliche phrases that seem to come up over and over, then every time the jerks mention them you tick off a part of the hangman. Some of the phrases: Raising the bar, at the end of the day, going forward, get all our ducks in a row, give one hundred and ten percent, think outside the box, in a nut shell and the all time shocker remember there is no I in team ... avoid them at all costs! Rather spice it up with some of your own one liners to make them think. PlanetPi suggests: The beatings will continue until morale improves, lets get our shit on one sock and one I read recently "As you all know, first prize is a Meredes. Anybody want to see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired."

Friday, May 2, 2008

Fantasy is an exercise bicycle for the mind. It might not take you anywhere, but it tones up the muscles that can ... Terry Pratchett

I heard about a guy who makes his living earning substantial amounts of cash by just presenting concepts. When attempting to explain his job title to those that enquire, he refers to himself as an IMAGINEAR.

What an awesome way to make a living. Too many of my buddies need to keep themselves busy all the time. Too few people can sit and just spend time inside their own heads. Take some time out and let your mind go.