Thursday 25 February 2010


I love this city. Yes, it is big, and busy, and full of pot holes, but it has a soul, and an energy, like no other place.

To celebrate this wonderful metropolis, a movie comes out this weekend that pays tribute to our city. And yes, it is called "Jozi". Check out

I know the film making team, and the writer/director is the real deal. I have watched their vision take shape over the past few years, and a few weeks ago I went to the premiere of this charming piece of work, and I was very chuffed. It made me feel normal and it made me laugh. Jozi has been an inspired journey for the film making team and I was very excited to see the final product - it is slick and smart, and it makes you laugh, a lot!

With all the buzz around South African cinema of late, the truth is, there has not been a commercial hit that has captured the world's imagination since 1980, when The God's Must Be Crazy made its mark. Films like Invictus and District 9 may showcase South Africa, and they may include South African talent, but they are not South African films. These are Hollywood endeavours that have capitalized on our "flavour of the year" status. They are good for our local film industry but they do not form part of our cultural library. Also, films like Tsotsi, Jerusalema, and District 9, do not have people rushing to the travel agent to book their tickets to come visit. Quite the contrary. But, if you look at films like Shirley Valentine, which got my mother running off to Greece, and Blame it on Rio, which got me running off to Rio, there has always been those artistic works which have influenced tourism and boosted national pride. The Gods Must Be Crazy goes down as a classic, and it was the Bushmen that captured the imagination of the world.

My heart tells me that South African film artists are getting closer to another commercial break-through film like this. I really hope that I can be a part of the team that does this, as I have been investing and working with film makers for over 8 years now.

I remember reading a piece that Barry Ronge wrote a few years back. It was about that lovely film set in New Zealand called the Whale Rider. That movie also captured the world's imagination, and Barry Ronge said that when South Africa makes its own Whale Rider then our local cinema would have come of age. This resonated with me, and I understood exactly what he meant. Sure, District 9 is exciting and ground-breaking, and it made a fortune of money for Sony Columbia in America, but it will be forgotten in a year's time. But no one will ever forget the Coke bottle that fell from the sky. I can see myself sitting back in 10 years and enjoying the Full Monty all over again. The same with other works like the Castle, Amalie, Billy Elliot, Saving Grace, and The Gods ... these are all movies that talk to your heart, and their messages are timeless.

Please all go and see Jozi - you will agree that it is a big step forward for locally made cinema. I promise you will not be disappointed!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Monday 22 February 2010

History lesson

A friend of mine sent me this - it is too good not to share:

For those that don't know about history ... here is a condensed version:

Humans originally existed as members of small bands of nomadic hunters/gatherers. They lived on deer in the mountains during the summer and would go to the coast and live on fish and lobster in the winter.

The two most important events in all of history were the invention of beer and the invention of the wheel. The wheel was invented to get man to the beer. These were the foundation of modern civilization and together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into two distinct subgroups:

1. Liberals, and
2. Conservatives.

Once beer was discovered, it required grain and that was the beginning of agriculture. Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can were invented yet, so while our early humans were sitting around waiting for them to be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery. That's how villages were formed.

Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to BBQ at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is known as the Conservative movement.

Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting learned to live off the conservatives by showing up for the nightly BBQ's and doing the sewing, fetching, and hair dressing. This was the beginning of the Liberal movement.

Some of these liberal men eventually evolved into women. Those became known as girlie-men. Some noteworthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the invention of group therapy, group hugs, and the concept of Democratic voting to decide how to divide the meat and beer that conservatives provided.

Over the years conservatives came to be symbolized by the largest, most powerful land animal on earth, the elephant. Liberals are symbolized by the jackass.

Modern liberals like imported beer (with lime added), but most prefer white wine or imported bottled water. They eat raw fish but like their beef well done. Sushi, tofu, and French food are standard liberal fare. Another interesting evolutionary side note: most of their women have higher testosterone levels than their men. Most social workers, personal injury attorneys, journalists, dreamers in Hollywood and group therapists are liberals. Liberals invented the designated hitter rule because it wasn't fair to make the pitcher also bat.

Conservatives drink domestic beer, mostly Bud or Miller. They eat red meat and still provide for their women. Conservatives are big game hunters, rodeo cowboys, lumberjacks, construction workers, firemen, medical doctors, police officers, engineers, corporate executives, athletes, members of the military, airline pilots and generally anyone who works productively. Conservatives who own companies hire other conservatives who want to work for a living.

Liberals produce little or nothing. They like to govern the producers and decide what to do with the production. Liberals believe Europeans are more enlightened than Americans. That is why most of the liberals remained in Europe when conservatives were coming to America. They crept in after the Wild West was tamed and created a business of trying to get more for nothing.

Here ends today's lesson in world history:

It should be noted that a Liberal may have a momentary urge to angrily respond to the above before forwarding it.

A Conservative will simply laugh and be so convinced of the absolute truth of this history that it will be forwarded immediately to other true believers and to more liberals just to piss them off.

And there you have it ... let your next action reveal your true self!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Thursday 18 February 2010

The English language

I read this on the Web - it was too good not to share:

So, you think English is easy ???

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row .

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

And, why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick'?

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Sunday 14 February 2010

Happy Valentine's Day !!!

A friend of mine sent me this recently, a naughty Jewish joke - it was too good not to share:

Jewish Lady’s Tattoo

A Jewish woman goes into a tattoo parlor and tells the tattoo artist that she wants a tattoo of a Hamentash on her right thigh just below her bikini line. She also wants him to put "Happy Purim" under the Hamentash.

The guy does it and it comes out looking really good.

The woman then instructs him to put a Matzo tattoo with "Happy Pesach" up on her left thigh. So the guy does it and it comes out looking good, too.

As the woman is getting dressed to leave, the tattoo artist asks: "If you don't mind, could you tell me why you had me put such unusual food tattoos on your thighs?"

She says: "I'm sick and tired of my husband complaining all the time that there's nothing good to eat between Purim and Pesach!"

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Wednesday 10 February 2010


I worked as a waiter for 7 years. While I was student I was always itching to work. I worked in the flea-market on weekends selling all kinds of things, and about 3 or 4 nights a week I worked in a restaurant.

Waiting on tables teaches you many things. For one, it helps you to understand people, and it certainly guides you when it comes to managing expectations. You learn to repeat an order back to a big table - you literally go through what you have written down and make sure that everything is 100% - if not, you could ruin the evening. Even if you get, say, 9 out of the 10 orders right, if one person is let down then the whole dinner lands up being a mess, especially if that is the person who is paying the bill.

So, I always notice good and bad waiters (probably like everyone else really) when I go out for dinner, and I tell you, I can't stand mechanical waiters in restaurants. You know, those mumsers who sommer walk over to your table, like fucken robots, when your mouth is full of food, and put their hand on your shoulder, and ask you how everything is. Can't you see my mouth is full you moron?! I can't stand this, because alas, I was a waiter, and it is something you learn not to do.

Instead, if you really want to find out how your customers are doing then put your heart into it and wait for the right moment. But don't pat a guy on the back and ask him a question when he has just put a fork full of food in his mouth. As a waiter this was one of things I learnt about looking after people. Pay attention.

But no matter how bad the service is, I still tip the waiters, even the worst of the worse. Yes, because alas, I was a waiter.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Saturday 6 February 2010


I just read this on the Web - I have heard this years ago, but it was good to see it again now :

Socrates the philosopher:

By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Wednesday 3 February 2010

California dreaming

I have been privileged to have travelled to some far away places in my life. And one of the most amazing experiences was staying at the Four Seasons hotel in Istanbul. What a beautiful creation. I must have signed up to the Four Seasons mailing list or something because every now and then I get a colorful and enticing email from their marketing machine.

One I got recently had the following opening paragraph :

An extra day to escape, to discover, to dream. - What if one day, you found a day? That you could pick up, put in your pocket, and use for whatever you wished? What would you do with it? Soak in a spectacular Costa Rican sunset from your private plunge pool? Take a guided tour through Wyoming's rugged Teton Mountains? Escape into a California avocado body wrap, followed by a warm seashell massage? Or see the bedazzled eyes of your little ones gazing on a welcome wagon filled with toys? Whatever your desires, whatever your wishes, whatever your dreams—we have the perfect day waiting for you here, at a Four Seasons in your corner of the world.

Very enticing indeed. But I started thinking more about the idea of "an extra day". Yes, what would you do if you were given an extra day to dream. I love spending hours on my own, just thinking out loud, about new ventures, new magic, new stories, and new cool things to try.

I love the idea of having an extra day. A day that you keep in your pocket, to use when you want to escape and dream.

May we all have an extra day to dream, every now and again.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker