Category Archives: Did you know?

For ever, Valentine

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THE PERFECT VALENTINE SONG

Ever seen the delightful music video of Shania Twain’s song Forever and for Always? Probably one of the very best depictions of Valentines’ Day. Such an inspiration to see how the friendship between the little boy and girl growing up together, turn into romance and a love for ever and for always. It inspires to believe in true love once again.

Over the years, a huge treasure chest of love songs from the most brilliant songwriters and singers were collected by humankind. What better way to celebrate the beauty of love on this joyous holiday, than with a few love songs? Without music, the world would be unimaginably poor. And of course, every couple has their very own special song. It is such a significant part of it all, isn’t it?

BIG DAY FEVER

Almost every single quarter of the year, and more, has some or other special day or holiday to celebrate. And then, what happens? It gets commercially blown up to something just a little short from “cheap”! It all turns into a convenient way to make money. Well, there might be nothing wrong with that, unless it takes the emphasis away from the real meaning. Christmas isn’t about the lights and trimmings and Easter is neither the bunny, nor the egg. After all, as they say: all that glitters is not gold. Well, the chocolates, red hearts, roses and the greeting cards are very much part of the Valentines’ Day vibe!

On the flipside of this “coin”, life is busy and things are sometimes forgotten in the midst of life’s storms. All the hype about these big days serves as convenient reminders. The pretty Valentines’ Day trimmings help put you in the mood and are an important part of the excitement.

EVERY DAY VALENTINES’ DAY

Why wait for the next special big day to show you care? Life will be quite something else if we start living every day as if it is Valentines-, Christmas-, Mothers- or Fathers Day, you name it. Let’s show our love, affection and appreciation every single day, forever and for always.

ON A MORE SERIOUS NOTE

Confusius – 6th century BC Chinese Philosopher shared these wise words with us. Let us take it to heart, forever and for always:

“When the heart is set right, then the personal life is cultivated

When the personal life is cultivated, the home life is regulated.

When the home life is regulated, then the national life is orderly

When the national life is orderly, then the world is at peace.”

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This article originally posted on http://cheap-short-term-car-insurance.com/ and reposted here with permission.

Boost your Business NOW!

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Your Business should be Visible On-line

It’s a jungle out there. It is vital for all businesses, specifically small business, to have a highly visible online presence. And their online presence, specifically their website, needs to have absolute quality content.  Why is this so vital? We live in a Google era. People will find your company online, rate your performance online, and crucify, condemn or commend your business in that same space.  You need to be prepared.

Make sure that you are highly visible in all Google searches. Ensure that your Search Engine Optimization is maintained, current, relevant and visible, so that when companies search for you, they not only find you, but they contact you. Pull them in; have them fill out their email address in order to access certain information, so that you have a guaranteed manner in which to contact them again. Enthrall them with the content of your site. Do not overload them with frivolous facts, but ensure that you have just enough to answer any questions they may have, all the while convincing your reader that you are, without doubt, the only subject-matter expert in this field worth consulting. That any other searching would, in fact, be futile.

If you can engage your reader with quality, they shall come back with quantity. Repeat visits, increased curiosity and vast faith in your brand will abound.

Boost your business by giving it a website to be proud of. A website that does it justice and will generate all the business you can handle. Ensure that it gets repeat visitors which will ensure repeat business for you. Many happy returns!

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This article originally posted on http://www.car-insurance-south-africa.co.za/ and reposted here with permission.

Cell Phone Addiction

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Are YOU suffering from Cell Phone Addiction?

A satirical, personal look at cell phone addiction

Cell Phone Addiction  and Rehab for mobile addicts

I had never felt the need for a cell phone; I am far too available already. I have lived in a self-created grand central station, with hordes of children and a pathological inability to cook for fewer than twenty people. But always there has been the desire to write, and writers need solitude (sic). I acquired a door mat that read, “If you really have to see me, bring a warrant”, laid down boundaries for the children, and ruthlessly took the phone off the hook when I was busy with the definitive seminal all time great novel, so why would I want a cell phone?

I was given my first cell ‘phone by a friend who had to upgrade. The ‘phone was a dinky number that flipped open and had a sticky out aerial thingy. He said it suited me as it looked like a powder compact with a make-up brush. Family life does not allow much privacy and I rather liked the idea of a private conversation. Confidentiality was not so much the issue as being able to complete a sentence without interspersing directions to the location of clean socks.

I informed a select few that I was in cyberspace and got on with my life. Later I packed the ‘phone prior to a journey, and saw missed call and sms records stretching to infinity. People seemed to assume that I now had to be in contact constantly. I checked. Nobody had anything to communicate, yet they were hurt or furious. Only one was funny- “Anybody out there, or shall I send a message in a f-n bottle? “

Identifying Cell Phone Addiction

Cell phone addiction presents classic signs of dependency:

1. Usage increases (as tolerance builds up and the original dosage no longer provides relief)

2. Personality changes (rudeness in social exchange when the need for the product allows concentration lapses, inability to sustain listening, blackouts in areas of etiquette, everyday responsibilities become secondary)

3. Social withdrawal (to protect and indulge in secret)

4. Continued use after the need is met, going to lengths to obtain the product, preoccupation with the quest and mixing with people the addict would otherwise not be attracted to in order to prolong usage.

5. Emotional changes (other interests no longer bring joy)

6. Forgetfulness (not retaining instructions as blanks will necessitate use of ‘phone)

7. Defensiveness (lashing out to defend the need, covering up by false logic implicitly believed by addict.)

Prompt intervention

If you notice more than three of the above behaviors in anybody you love, you must intervene immediately: throw the cell phone out of the window.

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Ref: N/A

This article originally posted on http://www.dial-direct.co.za/ and reposted here with permission.

Retrenched? What now?

Composition of people with different expressionsRetrenched? This is what you should do

Get every benefit

If the company offered a health plan, use it while you still can. If your boss offers a letter of referral, get it right away.

Cut back on your expenses when retrenched

Cut back financially as far as possible, to reduce stress while you search for a new job.

Know the crisis point

Don’t take the first job that comes along if you don’t absolutely have to, but don’t take a loan to extend the crisis point. This will just make the situation worse and put you in debt.

Update your CV

Polish your CV while you have time. An improved CV will increase your chances of finding a job.

Know what job you want

Assess the likes and dislikes of your previous job. If you don’t have to take the first job on offer, figure out which job and responsibilities will suit you best.

Register on job seeking websites

Don’t panic. Register your updated CV on job sites and have relevant jobs sent to you.

Stay motivated during the job hunt

Though job hunting is challenging, it’s important to remember that nothing is impossible. Start practicing ways to stay motivated. Never stop your job search.

Set up a timetable

Allocate an hour or three to job hunting, but don’t let it take over your entire day. Stick to this time table. Do something constructive with your spare time, such as volunteering or upgrading your skills.

Follow up

After applying, don’t dwell on the outcome too much. Follow up after a week. If the application was unsuccessful, ask for constructive criticism. Fine tune your CV and cover letter.

Control your stress levels

Manage your job search stress levels. Participate in pleasurable activities. Exercise, eating healthy, learn something new or chat to a friend to relieve stress levels.

Don’t take Rejection personal

There are candidates who are better than you. Rejection is not personal, don’t let it get you down.

A positive attitude and hard work will get you through this tough time!

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Ref.: careers24.com

This article originally posted on http://www.dial-direct.co.za and reposted here with permission.

Writing Tips from Science Fiction Author

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6 TOP Writing Tips from Science Fiction Author

Louise Viljoen, a South African author, just celebrated the successful launch of her Afrikaans science fiction novel, Die Roofdier (The Predator). Die Roofdier is published by Thompson Boekdrukkery who, together with Afrifiksie, aims to promote authors who write science fiction and fantasy in Afrikaans.

What is science fiction?

Science fiction writing is all about creating imaginary worlds and civilizations whilst incoporating sience and technology. Authors can create totally new worlds or simply write about our own world as they imagine it to be in the future. There’s no limits to possible scientific and technological innovations and advancement in the genre – the only rule is: know your created world’s reality and stick to it. Magic has no place in science fiction; all action should be based on scientific theory.

Keep the following in mind when writing science fiction:

  1. Don’t even think of trying your hand at science fiction writing if you don’t read the genre.

  1. Never forget the human element when writing science fiction. Readers need to identify with human emotions and limitations. The more human the protagonist is, the more the reader will relate to him or her.

  1. Characters drive the plot. Know your characters well and do not depict them as perfect. The ideal character is complex and flawed and do not have all the answers. He or she makes mistakes like any other person.

  1. Use ordinary language that your readers can relate to. If you do invent a new world where an alien language is spoken, use the alien vocabulary sparingly.

  1. The SF reader is a gamer who brings a problem-solving intelligence to the story. This is the SF writer’s one great advantage. Use it.” Thus states Terry Bisson, a succesful science fiction author.

  1. According to Allison Emm, a writer and illustrator from Colorado, a science fiction author should ask the following questions when plotting a story: “How does technology change human interaction, global economy, and everyday needs such as food and transportation? Do the same rules of physics apply in your fictional world as they do in the real world?”

Die Roofdier makes science fiction seem ordinary

Bekka Malan owns a farm and grows organic vegetables for a living. Strange things start to happen and Bekka is convinced that her life is in danger. She is shot at and her shed is burnt to the ground. Hector Krige wants Bekka’s farm and is willing to do anything to have her sign the offer to purchase.

Nicholai Craigg is a handsome stranger who rides into town on his Harley Davidson. The colour of his eyes spiral and he can read Bekka’s mind. Bekka receives a hologram-message from her late parents wherein they warn her that a predator is coming for her blood.

Who and what is Nicholai? Is he the predator? Why does Hector want Bekka’s farm? Exactly who or what is hiding in a cave in Kransberg, the mountain on Bekka’s farm.

Louise Viljoen’s Die Roofdier can be ordered here. Louise Viljoen is a writer, proofreader, editor and manuscript developer. Contact her at freelancewriter@truewan.co.za for all your freelance writing needs.

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South Africa – good, bad and ugly

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South Africa in the news – the good, the bad and the ugly

So, the Springboks restored our national pride on the weekend, and men’s egos are pumping patriotism! Bafana Bafana has not exactly helped to boost the frail male self-esteem of South Africa’s collective manhood. The lack of self respect that leads to violence against those weaker than ourselves is an illness not confined to our country, but certainly sadly present if we look at our rape and abuse statistics. Although sport has many redemptive aspects, and naturally we are proud of our teams and individuals that excel, it becomes a minefield (instead of a soccer or rugby field) when identities are defined purely by our loyalties.

Misguided loyalty means murder

Former president Thabo Mbeki and the ruling party appointed ministers and officials on the basis of past ANC connections, some sort of protest-family nepotism. Some would say that loyalty is a good thing – but when it blinds us to the truth it is a monster, as the Jackie Selebi debacle (to name but one) bitterly proved.

Nobody held a gun to the heads of the ruling party when they signed the Rome Statute. It was a freely chosen commitment to being part of a democratic world view. Upholding human rights is the cornerstone of our constitution. The International Criminal Court implements ideals that South Africa agreed to, without any constraint upon the will of the signatories. ANC MPs on Parliament’s justice committee welcomed the accession to the Rome Statute. Crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes (recognized internationally) can be dealt with by the ICC if the instruments to deal with it in the countries where these crimes were committed, are lacking. (Rwanda and Bosnia are examples, as is the Pinochet regime.)

And yet …

President Jacob Zuma, in the full knowledge of his Cabinet, colluded to allow the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to escape from Waterkloof Air Force base. By no stretch of the imagination can this be read as an accidental arrangement. This occurred in defiance of agreed to international obligations as well as a domestic court order, after adopting a stance that expressly dealt with justice as regards genocide suspects. By law (not to mention moral code), Bashir was supposed to be arrested in South Africa. This is what a responsible government would have done.

An independent judiciary

The high court has found that the government is in breach of South Africa’s international obligations and a direct court order. Government is appealing the ruling, claiming that visiting heads of state are granted amnesty and that the property where the African Union summit to which Bashir was invited, is the territory of the AU. Ruling party officials argue that our accession to the ICC should be reconsidered, spreading the plebeian argument that the ICC is anti-African. (Most of the convictions made by the court are against Serbian war criminals.) One of the intentions of the international legislation is that criminals cannot find a haven in other countries when they have perpetrated heinous crimes against innocent populations. It is spelled out in the legislation that a “heads of state” defence cannot be used, and neither can officers who executed a manifestly illegal order be exonerated.

13 years later…

The notion of African solidarity has reached the blinker stage under Zuma. It was disturbing enough when Robert Mugabe was front row celebrity at state functions in South Africa, but now we protect an internationally acknowledged criminal, in fact a mass murderer. If this is the price of loyalty, we have utterly lost Nelson Mandela’s ideals of not only a domestic but also a foreign policy based on human rights.

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Ref: www.bdlive.co.za/national/2015/10/15/newsanalysis

Why you should celebrate World Smile Day

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Why celebrate World Smile Day?

Don’t forget to put on your best smiley face on Friday, 02 October, when we celebrate World Smile Day®. The theme of this special day is: “Do an act of kindness. Help one person smile.”

The iconic smiley face was created in 1963 by Harvey Ball, a commercial artist from Worcester, Massachusetts. Ball instigated the first World Smile Day in 1999 after he became concerned that his original meaning and intent behind the beloved yellow symbol might be lost due to over-commercialism. He wanted the world to dedicate one day a year by doing acts of kindness and smiling. After his death in 2001, The Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation became the official sponsor of this amazing initiative.

Smiling is good for you

Smiles are infectious. Very few people can resist smiling back when someone treats them with a smile that stretches from ear to ear. Smiles convey positive feelings and energy. A simple facial expression such as a smile can have amazing benefits for ones health and wellbeing.

When you smile:

  • a cocktail of feel good neurotransmitters (endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin) floods your system and makes you feel awesome and happy;
  • your mood will lift and you will feel relaxed and less stressed;
  • you may experience that you manage chronic pain better;
  • your blood pressure and heart rate may drop;
  • you will appear more attractive and approachable to others; and
  • you will attract smiles from others and you will feel special because of it.

How to smile more often

  • Surround yourself with friendly people who like to smile and laugh a lot. This will brighten up your life considerably.
  • Watch funny movies and listen to jokes.
  • Watch your kids/animal play and join in the fun.
  • Be appreciative of beauty. Smile at the fluffy clouds in the sky, the flowering pot plant on the windowsill, and a beggar’s face when you treat him or her to lunch.

Smiling is the universal gesture for happiness. Almost everyone on the planet knows a smile conveys friendliness, warmth and acceptance. Maybe it is time that you smile more often … Why don’t you show off your pearly whites and flex your facial muscles? Spread some good cheer on World Smile Day.

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Reference

http://www.worldsmileday.com/index.php/article-index/item/373-about-world-smile-day

Joshua Tree: Route 62

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Coming Home to Joshua Tree via  Route 62

The high desert of California is oddly reminiscent of the Klein Karoo in South Africa. Dry weeds tumble on the veldt, and rocky outcrops are littered with succulents under a virulently blue sky. Puffy clouds resembling cotton balls over a wide open horizon sets the scene, with miles of open road to eat up with your wheels. So we arrive at the Harmony Motel along route 62, to find the owner, a South African who has decided to make this place her home. Looking at the corrugated iron fence, she laughs and tells a story of how her relatives from the home country had worried she had fallen into poverty. “They didn’t know it was a work of art,” she smiles at the many layers of irony concealed in this statement.

In the late 1980’s the Harmony Motel was where Bono and the band U2 stayed while making their album Joshua Tree. Their picture and the news articles of the time are proudly on display in the common room library. Many people still visit the Harmony Motel for this very reason, to touch base with the history of the music that came from here. Outside it is blisteringly hot, but the cold pool is invitingly clean and blue. We jump in and cool down instantly. “The water is always cold like that,” says Ash, the owner. The resemblance between this area and its namesake Route 62 in South Africa is uncanny.

Ash exudes a sense of common sense and no nonsense at the same time. Her words are measured and clear as she relates how she came to be here in the high desert of California. It is a moving story of bravery on her part and a certain willingness to face the future with resilience and fortitude. We end up spending many hours visiting with her, sitting around and talking till the cows would have come home were there any. In many ways this feels like a home coming, a familiar feeling place where the tradition of strangers meeting to exchange significant parts of their lives is as simple as putting the kettle on for a fresh cup of tea. It is with high spirits that we leave this haven on our way back on Route 62.

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Homo Naledi – a New Light on Our Ancestry

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Homo Naledi –  Extinct Homonin Species

“Homo naledi is a previously-unknown species of extinct homonin discovered within the Dinaledi Chamber of the Rising Star cave system, Cradle of Humankind, South Africa. The species is characterised by body mass and stature similar to small-bodied human populations but a small endocranial volume similar to australopiths.” In this way the summary of the academic paper on the discovery and study of Homo naledi in the journal eLife starts.

On Thursday, 10 September 2015, details of the fossil find of homo naledi was unveiled at Maropeng. This significant fossil find has been greeted with excitement around the world and many have said that the find will make us question what it is to be human. Lee Berger of WITS University stated that “[u]ntil this moment in history, we thought that the idea of ritualised behaviours directed towards the dead, things like burial or like secreting your dead into deep chambers, was utterly unique to homo sapiens.”.

The team has already unearthed parts of 15 individuals, but the researchers believes that there is still a treasure trove of fossils awaiting discovery in the Rising Star cave system and the Dinaledi Chamber. Homo naledi is further described as having “humanlike manipulatory adaptations of the hand and wrist” as well as “a humanlike foot and lower limb”. These aspects, however, are “contrasted in the postcrania with a more primitive or australopith-like trunk, shoulder, pelvis and proximal femur”. Because these aspects are represented in at least the already discovered individuals, this find represents the “largest assemblage of a single species of homonin yet discovered in Africa”.

This amazing discovery has once again put South Africa – and the Cradle of Humankind – on the map. All eyes will be on our country and the talented team of professionals slowly unearthing our past and bringing it to life.

OH SHUCKS, Is it The End?

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Shucks! Pay Back the Money

After master prankster and filmmaker Leon Schuster’s latest film Shucks! Pay back the Money got released in film theatres on 28 August; the film is already on everyone’s lips. The trailer promised once again a hilarious comedy treat from South Africa’s candid camera king. There are whispers going around whether this number 9 candid camera film might be Leon’s best yet. But will there be more to follow?

Leon Schuster, The man Behind SHUCKS

Leon Ernest Schuster, born 21 May 1951 in Vereeniging South Africa, spent his high school and university years in Bloemfontein, Orange Free State, where he also played his beloved sport of rugby for the first team of the University of the Orange Free State. That made him an enthusiastic Cheetah supporter ever since. After university, he went on to teach at his high school Alma Mater Jim Fouché for two years before working for the South African Broadcast Corporation. From a young age he showed a keen interest in filmmaking. As a child, Leon’s favourite pastime with his brother Otto was playing practical jokes on their family members while filming with a home movie camera. While working for the SABC, he gave light to the well known Afrikaans Vrypostige Mikrofoon radio program series, which consisted of various “victims” being pranced via telephone.

Sadly, it isn’t all moonlight and roses. Fame and success many times come at a price. Schuster got divorced after a 20 year long marriage, stating how his success might have been to his family’s detriment. His 4 children suffered with him through all the bad reviews and huge amounts of criticism over the years, despite all the success his films achieved. According to him, his bank balance also does not reflect the box office amounts his films had earned and that he invested enormous amounts of his own money in the making of his films.

Spectacular Career for SHUCKS

Leon Shuster is one of the most talented artists in South Africa as singer, actor, filmmaker and script writer. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award for comedy at the 2014 Huisgenoot Skouspel concert.

Film Career:

  1. You Must Be Joking! – 1986

  2. You Must Be Joking! Too – 1987

  3. Oh Shucks…It’s Schuster! – 1989

  4. Oh Shucks! Here Comes UNTAG – 1990

  5. Sweet ‘n Short – 1991

  6. Yankee Zulu – 1993

  7. Panic Mechanic – 1997

  8. Millennium Menace – 1999

  9. Mr Bones – 2001

  10. Oh Shucks… I’m Gatvol – 2004

  11. Mama Jack – 2005

  12. Mr Bones 2: Back from the Past – 2008

  13. Shucks Tshabalala’s Survival Guide to South Africa – 2010

  14. Mad Buddies – 2012

  15. Shucks! Your Country Needs You – 2013

  16. Shucks! Pay Back The Money – 2015

Singing Career Albums:

  1. Leon Schuster – 1982
  2. Broekskeur – 1983
  3. Waar En Wolhaar – 1983
  4. Briekdans – 1984
  5. Rugby – 1985
  6. You Must Be Joking! – 1986
  7. Dasiefoutie – 1988
  8. “Shakin” Schuster En Sy Opkikkers – 1992
  9. Hie’ Kommie Bokke – 1995
  10. Gautvol In Paradise – 1997
  11. Die Vrypostige Mikrofoon, Volume 1 – 1998
  12. Die Vrypostige Mikrofoon, Volume 2 – 1998
  13. Baas Funny Plaas – 1999
  14. My Beste Jare – 2001
  15. Groen, Goud En White – 2002
  16. Catchup Song And Every Cricket Hit – 2003
  17. Oh Schuks… I’m Gatvol – 2004
  18. Op Dun Eish – 2006
  19. Dra Die Bok – 2008
  20. My Mates – Die Bokke

Oh Shucks! South-Africa became Trigger Happy

Is it the end for candid camera filmmaking for Leon Schuster? In an interview he mentioned the intolerance and impatience of people. Why are we strung so tightly? According to Leon, it is due to the times we live in where load shedding, corruption and the lawlessness especially on our roads revs up frustration levels to the maximum. As he said: “I think my time is running out on candid stuff, so I don’t really know if I will make any more of these. Also I am a bit sick and tired of getting ‘klapped’”. At age 64, who can blame him?

He had to cut a few scenes from the film where guns were pointed at him. The public’s willingness to be set up for gags now differs completely from his debut candid camera film You Must be Joking in 1986, where the public were more relaxed and there weren’t a lot of people carrying guns around. As he joked: “I think one day my headstone will read: ‘Leon couldn’t take that last klap’”.