A friend of mine sent this to me. It is about "the Jewish" board of directors. It was too good not to share:
Schwartz, Cohen and Ginsburg were all close friends since childhood.
They decided they wanted to go into business together.
Schwartz says, "OK! I'll invest $100,000."
Cohen says, "I will go for $200,000".
Ginsburg says, "All right, I'll put in $1,000."
Cohen says, "If I'm putting in $200,000, I'll be the President and CEO of the corporation. You, Schwartz, for your $100,000, you can be Vice President and CFO, and Ginsburg, for your $1,000, you will be our Sexual Adviser."
Puzzled, Ginsburg asks Cohen, "What is a Sexual Adviser?"
Cohen replies, "When we want your f*cking advice, we'll ask for it."
Posted by Ronnie Apteker
Sunday, 28 November 2010
A friend of mine sent this to me. It is about "the Jewish" board of directors. It was too good not to share:
Tuesday, 23 November 2010
So, I am not 100%. I have some medical problems. But the specialist doctor I am seeing assures me that it is nothing fatal. But still, it is serious, and I need to spend time on my health (we all do for that matter). We take better care of our cars than we do of our bodies.
I have been to so many doctors in the past 18 months and it is starting to drive me a bit crazy. But, I need to listen, and they are the best in the land.
I am currently busy with a very nice doctor, a hematologist, who is trying to figure out what is going on with my iron levels and my liver.
I go and see this new doctor a few months ago, and when I get there, I am told that the doctor is running late, and I tell them I have to be at the airport in a few hours to fly to London, so, by some small stroke of luck, they manage to "squeeze" me in. Phew!
But then, a month or so goes by, and I need to go back to the doctor. And this is where this short story begins. I am told the doctor is running late, because of an emergency she had to attend at the hospital earlier that morning, and that all the appointments are now running late. But it is 4 pm, and I have a 6 pm meeting which I could not miss, and the traffic after 5 pm is going to be intense. So, I ask the lady behind the counter how long she thinks it will be. She tells me, with a very uninterested vibe, that she can't say. I ask her to take a guess. And she looks at me and says "Could be an hour, could be more." Now I have a dilemma. Do I wait and cancel my 6 pm meeting, or, do I leave and make another appointment? My health is in need of attention, and I had to wait for weeks to get this appointment - this is not cool. So, I ask this lady again why she didn't call me to tell me that the doctor was running an hour or so late, and she looks at me and goes "I am too busy to call everyone." I was not impressed, to say the least!
What am I? Chopped liver?!
I ask her, "Oh, so I am not busy. Only you are busy." She is not happy with my defiance and says to me "What is the matter?" I tell her that this is going to hurt me a lot if I miss my meeting later. And she goes "The doctor had an emergency this morning. Please understand." I tell her that if I don't make my meeting later I am also going to have emergency on my hands. But she is not interested. I tell her that it is not fair, and she says to me with some kind of smirk "No one else seems to have a problem waiting." Well, perhaps they are all unemployed or something. I tell her this, and she goes on and on about the emergency again and says to me "If it was you in the hospital and you needed the doctor for an emergency then what?!" Now, hang on, I am as sympathetic as the next person, and an emergency is an emergency, but why couldn't this arrogant gate keeper simply phone me and tell me that there is a delay. You know, a bit of professional courtesy, just in case I happen to have a job, or something. Are the only people seeing doctors unemployed, with nothing better to do? What a crock of shit!
I remember the wisdom I have learnt from business. About the genius of the AND verses the tyranny of the OR. Yes, the doctor can look after emergencies and they could let me know. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.
So, I finally saw the doctor, and I asked for a doctor's note, so that I could explain why I was late at my meeting later. The doctor laughed and said that they should have called me. Ah, some justice prevails.
Posted by Ronnie Apteker
Thursday, 18 November 2010
A friend sent this to me - it made me laugh, and it also made me nervous.
Gauteng Police just announced the discovery of an arms cache of 200 semi automatic rifles with 250,000 rounds of ammunition, 10 anti-tank missiles, 4 grenade launchers, 2 tonnes of heroin, R80 million in forged South African banknotes and 25 trafficked Nigerian prostitutes all in a block of flats behind the Hillbrow Public Library.
Local residents were stunned.
A community spokesman said: "We're shocked. We never knew we had a library!"
Posted by Ronnie Apteker
Sunday, 14 November 2010
Yes, the progress paradox continues to haunt each and every one of us. The cellphone is the master, and we are all a bunch of dumb Venter trailers.
You know, it is called the short message service for a reason. So, what is with these 30 line SMS's that people send out ... WTF !?
Do I now have to sit and reply to this long short message. Guys, come on!!! And actually, worse than the long SMS is the short one that goes, "Long time no speak - what's happening on your side?" Or, the one that goes, "How are you doing these days?" Which, if to be taken seriously, requires a long reply. Has the world completely lost the plot ?!
It is like those sincere emails, that you get on the BCC - seriously, come on!! You knows those ones, that go from Joe, To Joe, with some heart-felt message how a few close friends are getting together blah , blah , blah ... if they are such close friends then why not a personal invite ?
Yeah, the short message service ... if it is meant to be so short, then surely we can actually do without it!
A short VLOG with a very short message.
Posted by Ronnie Apteker
Monday, 8 November 2010
A friend sent this to me - it was too good not to share.
1. Ratio of an igloo's circumference to its diameter = Eskimo Pi
2. 2000 pounds of Chinese Soup = Won ton
3. 1 millionth of a mouthwash = 1 microscope
4. Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement = 1bananosecond
5. Weight an evangelist carries with God = 1 billigram
6. Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour = Knotfurlong
7. 365.25 days of drinking low calorie beer = 1 Lite year
8. 16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling
9. Half a large intestine = 1 semicolon
10. 1,000,000 aches = 1 megahurtz
11. Basic unit of laryngitis - 1 hoarsepower
12. Shortest distance between two jokes - a straight line
13. 453.6 graham crackers = 1 pound cake
14. 1 million microphones = 1 megaphone
15. 1 million bicycles = 1 megacycle
16. 365 bicycles = 1 unicycle
17. 2000 mockingbirds = two kilomockingbirds
18. 10 cards = 1 decacard
19. 52 cards = 1 deckacard
20. 1 kilogram of falling figs = 1 Fig Newton
21. 1000 ccs of wet socks = 1 literhosen
22. 1 millionth of a fish = 1 microfiche
23. 1 trillion pins = 1 terrapin
24. 10 rations = 1 decaration
25. 100 rations = 1 C-Ration
26. 2 monograms = 1 diagram
27. 8 nickels = 2 paradigms
28. 5 statute miles of intravenous surgical tubing at Yale University Hospital = One I.V. League
Posted by Ronnie Apteker
Wednesday, 3 November 2010
I just watched this on the Web, and I was blown away!
Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity - creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we're educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types…
Here is the transcript of his poweful talk:
Good morning. How are you? It's been great, hasn't it? I've been blown away by the whole thing. In fact, I'm leaving. (Laughter) There have been three themes, haven't there, running through the conference, which are relevant to what I want to talk about. One is the extraordinary evidence of human creativity in all of the presentations that we've had and in all of the people here. Just the variety of it and the range of it. The second is that it's put us in a place where we have no idea what's going to happen, in terms of the future. No idea how this may play out.
I have an interest in education -- actually, what I find is everybody has an interest in education. Don't you? I find this very interesting. If you're at a dinner party, and you say you work in education -- actually, you're not often at dinner parties, frankly, if you work in education. (Laughter) You're not asked. And you're never asked back, curiously. That's strange to me. But if you are, and you say to somebody, you know, they say, "What do you do?" and you say you work in education, you can see the blood run from their face. They're like, "Oh my God," you know, "Why me? My one night out all week." (Laughter) But if you ask about their education, they pin you to the wall. Because it's one of those things that goes deep with people, am I right? Like religion, and money and other things. I have a big interest in education, and I think we all do. We have a huge vested interest in it, partly because it's education that's meant to take us into this future that we can't grasp. If you think of it, children starting school this year will be retiring in 2065. Nobody has a clue -- despite all the expertise that's been on parade for the past four days -- what the world will look like in five years' time. And yet we're meant to be educating them for it. So the unpredictability, I think, is extraordinary.
And the third part of this is that we've all agreed, nonetheless, on the really extraordinary capacities that children have -- their capacities for innovation. I mean, Sirena last night was a marvel, wasn't she? Just seeing what she could do. And she's exceptional, but I think she's not, so to speak, exceptional in the whole of childhood. What you have there is a person of extraordinary dedication who found a talent. And my contention is, all kids have tremendous talents. And we squander them, pretty ruthlessly. So I want to talk about education and I want to talk about creativity. My contention is that creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status. (Applause) Thank you. That was it, by the way. Thank you very much. (Laughter) So, 15 minutes left. Well, I was born ... no. (Laughter)
I heard a great story recently -- I love telling it -- of a little girl who was in a drawing lesson. She was six and she was at the back, drawing, and the teacher said this little girl hardly ever paid attention, and in this drawing lesson she did. The teacher was fascinated and she went over to her and she said, "What are you drawing?" And the girl said, "I'm drawing a picture of God." And the teacher said, "But nobody knows what God looks like." And the girl said, "They will in a minute." (Laughter)
When my son was four in England -- actually he was four everywhere, to be honest. (Laughter) If we're being strict about it, wherever he went, he was four that year. He was in the Nativity play. Do you remember the story? No, it was big. It was a big story. Mel Gibson did the sequel. You may have seen it: "Nativity II." But James got the part of Joseph, which we were thrilled about. We considered this to be one of the lead parts. We had the place crammed full of agents in T-shirts: "James Robinson IS Joseph!" (Laughter) He didn't have to speak, but you know the bit where the three kings come in. They come in bearing gifts, and they bring gold, frankincense and myrhh. This really happened. We were sitting there and I think they just went out of sequence, because we talked to the little boy afterward and we said, "You OK with that?" And he said, "Yeah, why? Was that wrong?" They just switched, that was it. Anyway, the three boys came in -- four-year-olds with tea towels on their heads -- and they put these boxes down, and the first boy said, "I bring you gold." And the second boy said, "I bring you myrhh." And the third boy said, "Frank sent this." (Laughter)
What these things have in common is that kids will take a chance. If they don't know, they'll have a go. Am I right? They're not frightened of being wrong. Now, I don't mean to say that being wrong is the same thing as being creative. What we do know is, if you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original. If you're not prepared to be wrong. And by the time they get to be adults, most kids have lost that capacity. They have become frightened of being wrong. And we run our companies like this, by the way. We stigmatize mistakes. And we're now running national education systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make. And the result is that we are educating people out of their creative capacities. Picasso once said this. He said that all children are born artists. The problem is to remain an artist as we grow up. I believe this passionately, that we don't grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather, we get educated out if it. So why is this?
I lived in Stratford-on-Avon until about five years ago. In fact, we moved from Stratford to Los Angeles. So you can imagine what a seamless transition that was. (Laughter) Actually, we lived in a place called Snitterfield, just outside Stratford, which is where Shakespeare's father was born. Are you struck by a new thought? I was. You don't think of Shakespeare having a father, do you? Do you? Because you don't think of Shakespeare being a child, do you? Shakespeare being seven? I never thought of it. I mean, he was seven at some point. He was in somebody's English class, wasn't he? How annoying would that be? (Laughter) "Must try harder." Being sent to bed by his dad, you know, to Shakespeare, "Go to bed, now," to William Shakespeare, "and put the pencil down. And stop speaking like that. It's confusing everybody." (Laughter)
Anyway, we moved from Stratford to Los Angeles, and I just want to say a word about the transition, actually. My son didn't want to come. I've got two kids. He's 21 now; my daughter's 16. He didn't want to come to Los Angeles. He loved it, but he had a girlfriend in England. This was the love of his life, Sarah. He'd known her for a month. Mind you, they'd had their fourth anniversary, because it's a long time when you're 16. Anyway, he was really upset on the plane, and he said, "I'll never find another girl like Sarah." And we were rather pleased about that, frankly, because she was the main reason we were leaving the country. (Laughter)
But something strikes you when you move to America and when you travel around the world: Every education system on earth has the same hierarchy of subjects. Every one. Doesn't matter where you go. You'd think it would be otherwise, but it isn't. At the top are mathematics and languages, then the humanities, and the bottom are the arts. Everywhere on Earth. And in pretty much every system too, there's a hierarchy within the arts. Art and music are normally given a higher status in schools than drama and dance. There isn't an education system on the planet that teaches dance every day to children the way we teach them mathematics. Why? Why not? I think this is rather important. I think math is very important, but so is dance. Children dance all the time if they're allowed to, we all do. We all have bodies, don't we? Did I miss a meeting? (Laughter) Truthfully, what happens is, as children grow up, we start to educate them progressively from the waist up. And then we focus on their heads. And slightly to one side.
If you were to visit education, as an alien, and say "What's it for, public education?" I think you'd have to conclude -- if you look at the output, who really succeeds by this, who does everything that they should, who gets all the brownie points, who are the winners -- I think you'd have to conclude the whole purpose of public education throughout the world is to produce university professors. Isn't it? They're the people who come out the top. And I used to be one, so there. (Laughter) And I like university professors, but you know, we shouldn't hold them up as the high-water mark of all human achievement. They're just a form of life, another form of life. But they're rather curious, and I say this out of affection for them. There's something curious about professors in my experience -- not all of them, but typically -- they live in their heads. They live up there, and slightly to one side. They're disembodied, you know, in a kind of literal way. They look upon their body as a form of transport for their heads, don't they? (Laughter) It's a way of getting their head to meetings. If you want real evidence of out-of-body experiences, by the way, get yourself along to a residential conference of senior academics, and pop into the discotheque on the final night. (Laughter) And there you will see it -- grown men and women writhing uncontrollably, off the beat, waiting until it ends so they can go home and write a paper about it.
Now our education system is predicated on the idea of academic ability. And there's a reason. The whole system was invented -- around the world, there were no public systems of education, really, before the 19th century. They all came into being to meet the needs of industrialism. So the hierarchy is rooted on two ideas. Number one, that the most useful subjects for work are at the top. So you were probably steered benignly away from things at school when you were a kid, things you liked, on the grounds that you would never get a job doing that. Is that right? Don't do music, you're not going to be a musician; don't do art, you won't be an artist. Benign advice -- now, profoundly mistaken. The whole world is engulfed in a revolution. And the second is academic ability, which has really come to dominate our view of intelligence, because the universities designed the system in their image. If you think of it, the whole system of public education around the world is a protracted process of university entrance. And the consequence is that many highly talented, brilliant, creative people think they're not, because the thing they were good at at school wasn't valued, or was actually stigmatized. And I think we can't afford to go on that way.
In the next 30 years, according to UNESCO, more people worldwide will be graduating through education than since the beginning of history. More people, and it's the combination of all the things we've talked about -- technology and its transformation effect on work, and demography and the huge explosion in population. Suddenly, degrees aren't worth anything. Isn't that true? When I was a student, if you had a degree, you had a job. If you didn't have a job it's because you didn't want one. And I didn't want one, frankly. (Laughter) But now kids with degrees are often heading home to carry on playing video games, because you need an MA where the previous job required a BA, and now you need a PhD for the other. It's a process of academic inflation. And it indicates the whole structure of education is shifting beneath our feet. We need to radically rethink our view of intelligence.
We know three things about intelligence. One, it's diverse. We think about the world in all the ways that we experience it. We think visually, we think in sound, we think kinesthetically. We think in abstract terms, we think in movement. Secondly, intelligence is dynamic. If you look at the interactions of a human brain, as we heard yesterday from a number of presentations, intelligence is wonderfully interactive. The brain isn't divided into compartments. In fact, creativity -- which I define as the process of having original ideas that have value -- more often than not comes about through the interaction of different disciplinary ways of seeing things.
The brain is intentionally -- by the way, there's a shaft of nerves that joins the two halves of the brain called the corpus callosum. It's thicker in women. Following off from Helen yesterday, I think this is probably why women are better at multi-tasking. Because you are, aren't you? There's a raft of research, but I know it from my personal life. If my wife is cooking a meal at home -- which is not often, thankfully. (Laughter) But you know, she's doing -- no, she's good at some things -- but if she's cooking, you know, she's dealing with people on the phone, she's talking to the kids, she's painting the ceiling, she's doing open-heart surgery over here. If I'm cooking, the door is shut, the kids are out, the phone's on the hook, if she comes in I get annoyed. I say, "Terry, please, I'm trying to fry an egg in here. Give me a break." (Laughter) Actually, you know that old philosophical thing, if a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, did it happen? Remember that old chestnut? I saw a great t-shirt really recently which said, "If a man speaks his mind in a forest, and no woman hears him, is he still wrong?" (Laughter)
And the third thing about intelligence is, it's distinct. I'm doing a new book at the moment called "Epiphany," which is based on a series of interviews with people about how they discovered their talent. I'm fascinated by how people got to be there. It's really prompted by a conversation I had with a wonderful woman who maybe most people have never heard of, she's called Gillian Lynne, have you heard of her? Some have. She's a choreographer and everybody knows her work. She did "Cats," and "Phantom of the Opera." She's wonderful. I used to be on the board of the Royal Ballet, in England, as you can see. Anyway, Gillian and I had lunch one day and I said, "Gillian, how'd you get to be a dancer?" And she said it was interesting, when she was at school, she was really hopeless. And the school, in the '30s, wrote to her parents and said, "We think Gillian has a learning disorder." She couldn't concentrate, she was fidgeting. I think now they'd say she had ADHD. Wouldn't you? But this was the 1930s, and ADHD hadn't been invented at this point. It wasn't an available condition. (Laughter) People weren't aware they could have that.
Anyway, she went to see this specialist. So, this oak-paneled room, and she was there with her mother, and she was led and sat on a chair at the end, and she sat on her hands for 20 minutes while this man talked to her mother about all the problems Gillian was having at school. And at the end of it -- because she was disturbing people, her homework was always late, and so on, little kid of eight -- in the end, the doctor went and sat next to Gillian and said, "Gillian, I've listened to all these things that your mother's told me, and I need to speak to her privately." He said, "Wait here, we'll be back, we won't be very long." and they went and left her. But as they went out the room, he turned on the radio that was sitting on his desk. And when they got out the room, he said to her mother, "Just stand and watch her." And the minute they left the room, she said, she was on her feet, moving to the music. And they watched for a few minutes and he turned to her mother and said, "Mrs. Lynne, Gillian isn't sick, she's a dancer. Take her to a dance school."
I said, "What happened?" She said, "She did. I can't tell you how wonderful it was. We walked in this room and it was full of people like me. People who couldn't sit still. People who had to move to think." Who had to move to think. They did ballet, they did tap, they did jazz, they did modern, they did contemporary. She was eventually auditioned for the Royal Ballet School, she became a soloist, she had a wonderful career at the Royal Ballet. She eventually graduated from the Royal Ballet School and founded her own company -- the Gillian Lynne Dance Company -- met Andrew Lloyd Weber. She's been responsible for some of the most successful musical theater productions in history, she's given pleasure to millions, and she's a multi-millionaire. Somebody else might have put her on medication and told her to calm down.
Now, I think ... (Applause) What I think it comes to is this: Al Gore spoke the other night about ecology, and the revolution that was triggered by Rachel Carson. I believe our only hope for the future is to adopt a new conception of human ecology, one in which we start to reconstitute our conception of the richness of human capacity. Our education system has mined our minds in the way that we strip-mine the earth: for a particular commodity. And for the future, it won't serve us. We have to rethink the fundamental principles on which we're educating our children. There was a wonderful quote by Jonas Salk, who said, "If all the insects were to disappear from the earth, within 50 years all life on Earth would end. If all human beings disappeared from the earth, within 50 years all forms of life would flourish." And he's right.
What TED celebrates is the gift of the human imagination. We have to be careful now that we use this gift wisely, and that we avert some of the scenarios scenarios that we've talked about. And the only way we'll do it is by seeing our creative capacities for the richness they are, and seeing our children for the hope that they are. And our task is to educate their whole being, so they can face this future. By the way -- we may not see this future, but they will. And our job is to help them make something of it. Thank you very much.
Posted by Ronnie Apteker