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Philadelphia between Christmas & New Year

Yesterday we took a(nother) Philly sightseeing trip. This time we took the train with SEPTA’s Independence Pass. Friends informed us of this pass and for folks in the suburbs like us, it’s perfect for a day-trip to Philly. I always say this when we go in to Philly for fun, but it’s a great city. So much to see and do there at any time of the year. But between Christmas & New Year’s the city makes an extra effort.

We went to China Town, Macy’s (saw the Christmas show) & Dilworth Park where Elke – always up for a challenge – went ice skating. Then we had dinner at El Vez, an outstanding Mexican Restaurant.

It was such a nice day. And to top it all the Eagles won their game to reach the NFL playoffs so that added to the great vibe.

Fly Eagles Fly!

J P Landman se optimisme is misplaas

The last couple of months I have been impressed with Afrikaans radio station Radio Sonder Grense. This morning they had a very topical discussion about the impact and costs of the FIFA World Cup now after it had finished. I was enjoying the discussion except for one of the panellist’s striking aversion to anything negative being said about the World Cup or indeed South Africa. I decided to take note of this person’s name. It all made complete sense when I found out it was the happy fool J P Landman who was rubbing of up the wrong way.

This fool with his over-used often misdirected quotations would make you believe that there really is nothing wrong with our young democracy. That corruption is under control and all is well. I don’t respect J P Landman. I think he is essentially an academic who doesn’t live in the real world. His utterances are always delivered with spectacular grandeur, but I don’t think he ever really says anything of consequence. What he does say is what in Afrikaans you would refer to as Soetkoek – a light sweet cake that makes you feel good in the short term, but is ultimately not healthy.

Spud the Movie Trailer

I have just seen the trailer for John van der Ruit’s hilarious book, Spud and it looks promising.

Due for release in in November 2010, the movie tells the story of Spud, a boy going to school in the prestigious Natal private school, Michaelhouse. The book was a huge hit in South Africa and the UK, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that was to be made into a movie with screen icon John Cleese (as Spud’s favourite teacher) and newcomer South-African actresses Tanit Phoenix (as the sexy teacher) and Alex McGregor (as a girlfriend).

I am reading the book at present and I must say that I’ve had several involuntary fits of laughter, so I think it could be a great movie if they can successfully portray the South-African humour in the book. Inevitably some of the humour will be lost in translation to American and European audiences, but I think the English-speaking nations like the UK, Australia, New Zealand and India will certainly “get it”.

Die Antwoord

Die Antwoord
Die Antwoord is bad (meaning good).

Like so many people (including American rock god Fred Durst, top-of-the-pops icon Katie Perry and Riviersonderend) I have been blown away by South-Africa’s new runaway band Die Antwoord. Everybody who is anybody is talking about this band – and most of the buzz isn’t even in South Africa! Some of their songs have had more than a million hits on Youtube. Their early success is phenomenal. Like many South Africans I can’t totally place them. It is obvious they are taking the piss about the Zef culture in South Africa, but how much of it is real? Their songs/videos are very funny and much of it is staged, but I’m certain there is a lot of reality as well. Who cares? I don’t.

Many South-Africans, especially the more conservatives ones, won’t be impressed by this music. To me many of their songs are too vulgar and over the top, but Enter the Ninja is utterly brilliant and seriously gives me goosebumps when I listen to it. It definitely has strong elements of Marshall Mathers (aka Eminem) and, like some of his music, resonates with the dispossessed. And right now in South-Africa and the world there are many of those. The lyrics are serious (not like the other songs) and describe the fight for survival in SA.

Technically the rapping by MaxNormal aka The Ninja is astonishing. I had no clue we had such great artists in this media in SA. Although subsequently I have now heard Jack Parow as well and he is also damn good. The video, set design, website and all the other production elements are comparable with the best in the music business. Again it doesn’t even look South-African it is so good. The people that created this are serious pros.

Going forward will be tricky: they obviously want to nurse the global audience they now have, but they need to stay Zef and South African. If I were them I’d be careful of being too vulgar (for example “Jou ma se P##s” in ‘n Fishpaste Jar). I don’t think they need the vulgarity, because their music is brilliant enough. Enter the Ninja has lots of swearing, but it is justified, but “Jou ma se P##s” in ‘n Fishpaste Jar” is too much.

Nothing would please me more if Die Antwoord continued with this massive surge; I wish them all the best. Yo Ninja. GO!

Elke se 1ste konsert

Elke en Gustav was gister in hul 1ste konsert gewees. Elke het vrek baie uitgesien daarna en sy het dit regtig terdeë geniet. Soos julle op die video sal sien het sy ‘n lang gehad want sy gaap kompleet soos ‘n minister in die Parlement. Sy is nog net 2 weke in die skool en sy verstaan nog nie altyd die Engels so lekker nie.

Review: Deep Water

"Deep Water" - moving
"Deep Water" - moving

Deep Water is a film currently showing on DSTV. This documentary covers the true story of how Don Crowhurst, Bernard Moitessier and others attempt to sail around the world on their own.

The first words of the film are “We are all human beings and we all have dreams.” Very apt. This deeply moving film examines Man’s (sometimes tragic) quest for adventure and glory. But it is far more than that; it is about friendship, failure, family, priorities, greed and solitude. I would say it is essentially about men. Real Men; with their strengths AND weaknesses. But it also explores these men’s relationships to their families and how unwittingly destructive these men can be.

I like to think I have exploration in my blood. I think most men, especially Afrikaners, feel the same. I know my father has it in his blood; he has travelled into remote Africa on his own for months on end. This need to explore – in solitude sometimes – is something that fascinates me tremendously.

This film hit my right in the chest; Twice! I give it 8.5/10 – a must see!

Gustav & Elke bespreek dinosourusse

Ek het het vandag fotos gaan neem met my splinternuwe Nikon D90. Die kamera is die 1ste DSLR wat video kan neem maar dis glad nie hoekom ek hom gekoop het nie. Ek het niks verwag van die video nie, maar toe Elke en Gustav in die bootjie gesit en gesels het het ek gedink dis ‘n goeie geleentheid om te kyk hoe goed die video funksionaliteit is.

Ek was aangenaam verras. Ek het op die kleinste format 640 x 480 geneem en ek dink die kwalitieit is heel goed. Dit was bewolk gewees, maar soos julle kan sien was die beeld baie goed en lekker skerp.

Die video self is baie snaaks – veral die einde! 😉

Hoe goed is Dale Steyn nou rêrig?

As jy na die video kyk dan kan enige ou wat ‘n bietjie van krieket weet sien Dale Steyn kan onspeelbare balle afstuur. In my opinie is sy beste enkele balle nog ooit:

  • Yorker vir Michael Vaughn (Eng) in 2004
  • Outswinger vir Brad Haddin (Aus) in 2008 in die 3rde toets in Australie
  • Yorker vir Dwayne Bravo (WI) in 2007 (hierbo)

Maar Steyn is beter as dit. Statisties kry hy, op hierdie oomblik, ‘n paaltjie elke 38.2 balle wat hy boul. Dit is die beste syfers in die toetskrieket vir die laaste 100 jaar! Die befaamde (of berugte) spinbouler, Shane Warne, het ‘n paaltjie maar elke 57 balle geneem.

Prince utters wise words

Call me counter-revolutionary is an exceptional, well referenced, column by Head of Crime, Justice and Politics Programme at the Institute for Security Studies, Prince Mashele.

I think it is a great column, because it attacks the idle middle class & its irresponsible consumer culture. I think this is one of the real underlying problems in this country and others. In fact I think Obama also addressed this issue, although in other words, in his inauguration speech.

While I think this is a problem in any middle class culture, I think it is particularly bad in the new black middle class in South Africa. For obvious reasons there wasn’t a black-middle class in the past. Now these people suddenly have access to money and it seems to have become all-consuming. I applaud Prince Mashele for being honest about the cause & effect of this on blacks.

I think this issue underlies many of our other problems like crime, corruption, fraud, affirmative action and the resulting poverty of many South Africans.

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