Thursday, 29 April 2010

Tiger by the tail

This was simply too freakin’ funny – it had to be shared :

Did you hear about the advice Tiger's dad gave him on his death bed?

"Son, focus on golf. Fuck everything else."

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Monday, 26 April 2010

Amazon dot king

I remember when first went live back in the 90s - it was such an exciting idea. Yes, it was more of an idea than anything else - whoever would have predicted the incredible growth, and the constant re-invention. I remember buying my first books from Amazon, probably 14 or 15 years ago. I was so thrilled when my order arrived, complete with stickers, a t-shirt, a bookmark, and other cool trinkets. But, I have not bought a book from Amazon in a while. Read on.

I have spent a fortune with Amazon over the years, buying books, VHS tapes, CDs and DVDs. But, when I think about it now, I have not ordered a VHS tape this decade, and very few CDs of late. Even DVDs have lost a lot of their appeal. I am quite an old fashioned kind of guy, and I like the romance of holding a book in your hands. I imagine I will always want to add a good book to my small collection. But, I have not purchased many books from Amazon of late. But, I have had more Amazon transactions go off on my credit card this year, than ever before. Read on.

In the past few months I have buying eBooks for my Amazon Kindle. Perhaps it is just a novelty that will wear off, but whatever it is, it is a taste of life in the decade ahead. Amazon sells more and more dematerialized products - digital stuff that can be sold again, and again, and again. Couriers don't feature, packaging is a non-event, and customs and duties don’t seem to come into play here. Yes, the digital world is becoming more and more real.

I think the Kindle, and the iPad, and the rest, are all focused on one thing : a land grab! There is a rush for eyeballs, and Amazon's constant re-invention puts them in a very powerful place in my view. Sure, Google rules, and Facebook's membership is incredible, but Amazon has paying customers; millions of them! And Amazon has my credit card details, for example - I don't need to think when I want to purchase something. It is all so simple and quick.

Amazon is the ultimate retailer, or e-tailer. What an amazon-ing story!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Wrapping up

This text got my attention; and believe it or not, it came from a Global Wrapps' newsletter - read it - it has an important message :

There can on be one winner at the 2010 World Cup and it is not the team that will lift the cup.

FIFA is the only real winner from this fantastic event. Please don't misunderstand me, I am looking forward to this event as much as anyone else, and the thirty odd days of soccer is going to be 30 days of party. But after every party there are partygoers suffering from a hangover.

What worries me is that the number of foreign visitors expected to come has been consistently dropping for the last four years. It started off at close to one million and now is only expected to be about 250 000. Without the other 700 000 visitors who is going to pay for these fantastic stadiums, road upgrades, broadband upgrade etc. The fact is that it will be you and me the ordinary taxpayer. Just as Greece is now paying for the Olympics that it could not afford SA is likely to suffer a similar fate.

And again I must state that I don't mind paying for a good party but the question we need to ask is should we be having parties when so many of our citizens do not have access to housing, schooling, healthcare and cheap transport. When they are rioting because of a lack of service delivery.

FIFA has conned us and are our leaders playing the fiddle while Rome burns.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Monday, 19 April 2010


This is an online conversation between my mate (who we will call "the big J") who is stuck in Italy, and myself, from this weekend gone by.

The big J : latest BBC report says volcano getting worse and could last weeks (hope wind direction changes)

R : Whoa, could London be closed for weeks ? this would put the UK into a proper recession !

The big J : it's already in a proper recession, the world is just in denial... well that's my opinion

R: And you can’t cheat nature, so, the volcano erupted ... ie, mother nature is going to kick in and wake us all up ...

The big J : couldn’t agree more

R: Iceland and a volcano ... fire and ice

The big J : send supplies !

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Friday, 16 April 2010

Reflections on the Holy Land

I was recently in Tel Aviv with my mom. Here are some thoughts from that special place in the desert.

First of all, the orthodox Jews are taking over in Israel - they have about 6 to 8 kids per family. And regular families have one or two kids. One could project and conclude that in the near future the frummers will eventually be in the majority. This brings with it a big challenge: what happens to the labour force?

I was in Israel with my family over 30 years ago. My mom was telling me, that when she brought me and my brother Alon to Israel all those years ago, that we stood out. When we were proper lighties everyone noticed us, according to my mom. She was telling me that because we said things like "Please can I have an ice cream" and "Thank you" that people could tell we were foreigners. Apparently we were labeled the "please and thank you" kids.

And then there is something from my visit in 1999, when I went with a friend to Svat. I was telling my mom the story, when we were together now, and it captured the spirit and vibe of this special part of the world. So, in 1999 a friend of mine and I were in Svat and we visited a candle shop there and this is how the conversation (translated) went. "How is life treating you?" "Thank God" "How is business?" "Thank God" "How is your family?" "Thank God" Every question I asked was answered in the positive with "Thank God". And then, the friend I was with said "We should get going soon." And I responded with "Thank God". Everyone packed up laughing.

My recent visit to Israel really blew my mind. What a miracle story! Inspiring and full of soul. I loved it and plan to visit there more often in future.

One other thing I really noticed now in Tel Aviv were the kids - they are everywhere, day and night. During a lovely Saturday evening, on a vibey boulevard, the restaurants were full of parents and their kids were outside playing and running around and making noise and just living, without a worry in the world. Carefree and energized - it was good to see. This is how it should be!

On that note, good shabbos to everyone.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Monday, 12 April 2010

Start spreading the news

So much crazy and colourful activity in SA of late - emotions are mixed and confidence like a yo-yo. But, life goes on, and perhaps things have always been this way, but only starting getting a lot of YouTube buzz or something.

And speaking of YouTube buzz, I recently was told that there are 3 ways to spread news : telegram, telephone, and tell a woman.

I got nothing against women, so please don't shoot me down - it just sounded funny. And even funnier was something I heard in an interview on the Web, where someone responded, when asked where electricity comes from, "The majority of Americans think that electricity comes from the wall."

Not sure what this has to do with anything, but it did make me laugh. Hopefully it will make you laugh too.

Yes, the party in SA continues and so we carry on dancing; but, as a leading South African economist once said, "We must make sure we are dancing very close to the door!"

PS - speaking of crazy - check dis out :

and the remixes :

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Tag, you're it !

Don’t you hate it when some guy who you don't really know, and aren’t really interested in, calls you, and leaves a message and then you call him back and leave a message back, and he calls you again and leaves another message that says "We are playing telephone tags". Hey, my man, we are not playing anything, ok!? I just called you back out of courtesy, but you are the one who is playing.

Isn't it amazing how these clowns call you, but when you call them back you can never find them. Last week this happened to me, yet again, and when I did call the guy back he actually answered, which amazed me... and then says to me "I need to call you back just now; I am just finishing something here."

My brother tries to get a hold of a guy and leaves him a bunch of messages - a month later this guy calls back and says "We keep missing each other".

People ask you if you are happy with your phone. Who cares about a stupid cell phone. But the answer is quite simple. When I get good calls I am happy with my phone, and when I get mumsers calling me, then I can't stand the sight of it.

And don't get me started on the SMS thing - I love those guys who send me an SMS that goes "How you doing? What's news with you ..."

Let's end this off here - you get the message.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Monday, 5 April 2010

The new Manhattan

I am in Tel Aviv, with my mom, on a family adventure. I have not been to Israel since 1999. I am amazed at how the city of Tel Aviv has developed - everyone here keeps referring to it as "little Manhattan". What an eye opener!

And, as I sit here, doing some work, and catching up on some emails, I got this joke from a friend of mine - it is a great Jewish joke and was too good not to share :

Frank Feldman

A man walks out to the street and catches a taxi just going by. He gets into the taxi, and the cabbie says, "Perfect timing. You're just like Frank."

Passenger: "Who?"

Cabbie: "Frank Feldman. He's a guy who did everything right all the time. Like my coming along when you needed a cab, things happen like that to Frank Feldman every single time."

Passenger: "There are always a few clouds over everybody."

Cabbie: "Not Frank Feldman. He was a terrific athlete. He could have won the Grand Slam at tennis. He could golf with the pros. He sang like an opera baritone and danced like a Broadway star and you should have hear him play the piano. He was an amazing guy."

Passenger: "Sounds like he was something really special."

Cabbie: "There's more. He had a memory like a computer. He remembered everybody's birthday. He knew all about wine, which foods to order and which fork to eat them with. He could fix anything. Not like me. I change a fuse, and the whole street blacks out. But Frank Feldman, he could do everything right."

Passenger: "Wow. some guy then."

Cabbie: "He always knew the quickest way to go in traffic and avoid traffic jams. Not like me, I always seem to get stuck in them. But Frank, he never made a mistake, and he really knew how to treat a woman and make her feel good. He would never answer her back even if she was in the wrong; and his clothing was always immaculate, shoes highly polished too. He was the perfect man! He never made a mistake. No one could ever measure up to Frank Feldman."

Passenger: "An amazing fellow. How did you meet him?"

Cabbie: "Well, I never actually met Frank. He died. I'm married to his fuckin' widow."

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Protons and croutons

I remember reading a book, many lifetimes ago, about protons and croutons. And I remember using this heading somewhere else before, but I can't remember where it was. It always makes me laugh when I think of protons and croutons.

And then, I read something the other day. Something simple and cool: "The world is made up of stories, not atoms."

Now think about it, someone made up a story about atoms!

Everything we love about the world comes in the form of a story. The time you met that inspired person, the moment you saw that beautiful landscape, the adventure you went on with your mates ... stories are what life is really all about.

So, if you can't tell the difference between a proton and a crouton then don't worry. What this has to do with stories and atoms, well, there must be a natural link here somewhere ... but I am battling to come up with a smart-ass comment, on this funny day - go figure. But this does all make for one cool VLOG, well, in my view anyway.

So many cool stories, so many more to come!

Viva protons, viva atoms, viva Caesar's salads and bring on the colourful stories.

Viva April 1st - have some fun today ... I love this time of year!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker