Things you never thought you would say . . .

Like, there is a legless man running in the Olympics or I got sent a press release that is actually interesting. I know I’m being a little mean (about the second one) but so seldom is it the case that I get sent something as blogger that interests me.

We normally get flooded with endless promotional crap that somehow the senders think we’ll just be happy to copy and paste in. Now sure, we love individuals sending in things to post but the mass market digital agencies or PRs – not so much.

Of course we all know Oscar is competing in the Olympics (I guess our minds have been blown so many times by this dude that its actually not massively surprising anymore!)  and now his official watch sponsor is U-BOAT. His specific watch . . . U-BOAT 53mm CLASSICO Titanium Automatic Chronograph watch ‘the Oscar of timekeepers’

I’ve seen him in a number of print ads for fragrances, Nike and a few others but let’s be honest here this dude deserves to get the metal scratches on his blades sponsored by someone. I’m not going to go into a long story about his determination and spirit but I think the most accurate (and granted clichéd) thing I could say is that he, ironically, probably embodies the epitome of an Olympian!

Here’s the times & dates he will be running (click for more details) . . .

 But these are the times you should be watching (his personal bests) . . .

  • 100m: 10.91 seconds (South Africa, April 2007)
  • 200m: 21.41 seconds (South Africa, March 2010)
  • 400m: 45.07 seconds (Italy, July 2011)

While I would rather see him wearing this . . .

I suppose this is cool in the meantime!

As a country we are proud to have Oscar Pistorius representing us at the Olympics. As a brand U-BOAT salutes their brand ambassador Oscar Pistorius Blade Runner!
The dedication and incredible fortitude against the odds has ensured Oscar a place in history. Already a Paralympic gold medalist, Pistorius’ ability has not been without controversy – initially banned from competing against able-bodied peers because many argued that his blades gave him an unfair advantage, he continued to strive toward his goal. “One of the reasons for doing the tests was proving that I’m in a sport and have the ability to run due to my own talent and hard work and sacrifices, and that was important for me. Looking back at that, I’m happy that we went through it.” Says Pistorius 
In keeping with Oscar’s spirit he has been named brand ambassador for U-BOAT watches –  Luks Group CEO Marc Hoffman, U-BOAT distributors is elated at placing the hottest time piece on Oscar’s wrist … U-BOAT understands the value of every second, which is why each watch is hand-crafted with meticulous attention to detail ensuring each time-piece is of the highest quality. Nobody is better suited to understand the brand ethos more than Oscar Pistorius who is also dedicated to making every second count both on the track and in life.
“Oscar is an inspiration to all South African’s and millions of people around the world. He is showing us all how to live beyond our limitations. Oscar encompasses strength, individuality and inner confidence. The same values that U-BOATwatches stand for. U-BOAT South Africa feels privileged to affiliate with Oscar as he pursues his dreams.”
When U-Boat paired Oscar Pistorius with their 53mm CLASSICO Titanium Automatic Chronograph watch, it was a perfect match for the athlete. With Oscar being named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world for 2012, he was a natural choice as a U-BOAT Ambassador, for U-BOAT too continues to influence watch design and style around the globe.

As if there are not enough guns?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a massive of fan Tony Stark standing in front of a newly nuked Middle Eastern country side professing, “That’s how dad did it, that’s how America does it . . . and it’s worked out pretty well so far” – in the movies that is.

In real life we live in a world where guns have become so easily obtainable that high school massacres and public shootings have become a part of an everyday concern let alone the usual gang violence, carjacking and other ‘normal’ crimes with weapons.

It seems far too easy for any person with an agenda (and even more so angry bullied teenagers) to walk into a store and buy a piece of equipment that is designed to kill and maim. If you don’t believe me you should watch this movie, it’s an oldie but it shows in one (very large democratic) country just how easy it is to create violence for almost no reason! Imagine whats happening out there in your country every day.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUSpszWfu_w

For these reasons I find it so bizarre that our focus as a global community is not to take weapons away and get rid of as many guns as possible but rather to find easier ways to create them.

I stumbled across this article on the brilliant GIZMAG and it got me thinking just how crazy the world has become that we are now using 3D printers to manufacture guns. When this technology could be used for things like fixing broken bones, creating organs or blood vessels to help chronically sick patients we choose to fund those who want to make more cheaper guns available – does this sound like a rational civilization?

If you thought it was easy to get guns before can you imagine, as this technology gets cheaper and cheaper as its bound to get, how many guns will be produced and sold illegally if all you need is a printer to make a few of these . . .

I often get concerned about humanity that its moral conscience is slowly slipping away. I mainly make jokes about the fact that we have crumbled to the point where Justin Bieber is a global icon but the truth is when we start printing weapons, the joke becomes less amusing I fear!

The other day i watched a movie called Project X (which is actually quite classic – go watch the TRAILER). Another in the long line of very amusing Superbad-esque movies of geeky guys who want to be popular so they throw a party and it gets out of control etc. etc. I always love watching these up to the point where you think dear lord these dudes are ABSOLUTELY F%$#ED! You know the point where it goes from ‘damn that looks like a good party” to “how are they going to explain a Merc CLK in their swimming pool”. From that point on i start to cringe further and further under my seat until the kid gets busted and it all ends semi happily!

It got me thinking though, in this movie that we live in, at what point will we start having to hide under our seats for fear that this shit is getting so far out of control that there is just no way to fix it?

How quick we are to forget . . .

I remember ’94 fairly clearly, I mean I was only in my pre-teams but I remember quite amusingly, now in hindsight, the amount of white supermarket dwellers stocking up on things like candles, canned goods and bottled water. Somehow they believed a free and fair election could spark mass chaos. I guess now we ridicule but sometimes people panic in the face of the unknown, especially when they have to look after a family.

I remember so clearly my mom was stopped by a reporter in a PnP Hypermarket and asked “you have a massive amount of food, are you stocking up for the post election chaos? Are you scared? Will you go into hiding?”

In a way only my mom can pull off she said “Are you mad, you try shopping for a husband and three teenage sons, this is my weekly grocery shopping?!!”

That was the tone my family took I guess. It was fair, it was right and it was about damn time!

That was not the common white South African theme if we are all honest. As a complete generalization (and as I’ve explained above I do not see me or my family as part of this) white people were scared, angry and completely unsure of what lay ahead.

Cue, the now, world revered demi-god Tata Madiba!

I won’t go into superlatives to describe this man, many others have and will continue to do so in a far more eloquent and meaningful way than I ever can, but I think if you remember how pathetic white people responded to this king who was about to take control of our country, you will only appreciate this more.

Fast forward almost two decades . . . past the ups and downs of Thabo Mbeki for all he was worth, through Kgalema’s short stint into the end of Jacob Zuma:term one! Now looking back on all the leaders this country has had (even including the heavy set Dutch who ran the country into the dark ages) are you not that much more ashamed of how you treated Tata Madiba as he hit the worlds stage and took control of a country in emotional, financial and every other kind of turmoil.

I hear those same white women from Sandton (and yes I can say this because I knew most of them growing up) who blatantly swore they would never live in a country run by a black man, now praising him and wishing him a happy birthday and professing there love and wishes that he was still president – my how quickly we forget.

I guess the only reprieve for their fickle tongues is that the world has changed so dramatically over the last two decades that we virtually don’t recognize it anymore. Nothing illustrated this better than this brilliant depiction of the “Mandela Story” via social media (if Nelson Mandela had social media . . .)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXvuRFby8cc&feature=player_embedded

Tata we salute you, we honor you and we (as a collective) apologize for the way we disrespected your ability before we even knew you. Perhaps while all of you spend your 67 minutes doing something to improve the world you can also spend it thinking about what it would be like to have a leader like him grace our country’s presidential residences once again and quietly apologize for the disrespect you showed him all those years ago!

Seems a very sad far way off right now doesn’t it?

A little something for to get you focused on the weekend . . .

So once again I fear we have slipped a little too far down the path of serious on this blog.

To be fair serious times call for serious articles but as I found the below quote I decided that its Friday the 13th so F%$# IT – let’s throw caution to the wind and think about getting back to our roots of hot sexy fun!

Enjoy your weekend STMers!

and if all else fails?

Is there anyone left to make the hard decisions . . .

This quote has resonated with me for a long time and when I recently watched the IRON LADY (one of 10 movies I watched crossing the world last time – apparently I have lost the ability to sleep on planes even when blind drunk)  it cemented an issue I’ve been battling to compartmentalize for a long time!

Does anyone make hard decisions anymore?

After going back to South Africa for a few days I go the usual update via the insufferable newspapers and radio stations. Fortunately I haven’t lost the ability to deflect the cries of crime and corruption but the one thing strangely enough that hit home was the e-tolls. Not because they are a major topic in my life but because of what they actually represent.

You see basically what happened is the government spent pretty much R20 billion of the tax payers money (and my money since I only left a few months ago) on structures and a system that would make you pay for the roads you use – seems simple enough.

Cue the public outcry and the trade unions whining (because that’s all they seem to do) and cue the governments ‘deer in the headlights’ panic and long process of trying to get every single person in the country, it would appear, to agree to the tolls.

Now the bottom line is South Africa is in a similar financial situation to Greece (yes its dramatic but not far off). WE CANNOT PAY FOR OUR ROADS. The government came up with a solution that those who use the roads have to pay more for them – seems like good logic doesn’t it? Now if we had forceful, intelligent leadership, what would have happened is the government would have forced the people to pay and after six months of crying people would adjust the amount they spend on Verimark products and they would pay. South Africa would make money to fix its roads (or buy Jacob Zumas 12th wife a house) and all would be back to normal.

But no – we sit with a R20 billion asset that doesn’t work and egg on everyones faces!

SO what the hell does Margaret Thatcher have to do with it? Well it’s quite simple, she existed in a time when Britain was even more of a boys club than it is today! She rose through the ranks to become the most powerful politician in Britain in a time when Britain was categorically failing as she realized she had to make HARD DECISIONS!

She cut mining jobs, she raised taxes and she did the unthinkable by taking on the trade unions head on (something I wish SA would do at some point!) she did these things not because she wanted her approval rating to drop to the lowest of any British PM in history but because she knew her personal suffering was nothing compared to the suffering that Britain would endure if she didn’t!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVok-8zJMKE

Maggie knew that she had to make hard decisions in the short term to ensure the long term survival and prosperity of her nation. By the time she left office ten years later she had managed to tick pretty much every box on a Prime Ministers scorecard and she will be forever remembered as one of the greatest (toughest) leaders of the 21st century.

South Africa is in financial trouble, of that there is little doubt, but then again so is every nation on earth (except the Chinese) and we need a government who is going to make tough decisions and unfortunately FORCE the people to endure them for the long term survival of our nation.

Now the question is do you believe these people can handle that job?

Dorothy was right . . .

I don’t remember the wizard of Oz, I’m not sure how that idiot woman landed herself in some magical place so far from home, but as the 1930s version played next to me in business class of my Emirates flight back to South Africa I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony.

You see over the last few weeks I’ve been told ive been slightly critical of my home nation. Perhaps it’s a sadness that I’m not there anymore or perhaps I have just started to have a balanced view of place I come from finally?

What I do know is that going home for a week (although 80% of it was spent in conference rooms and preso halls) made me realize why I love this country so much. To be able to have a braai with friends gathered round whether it’s to see what they can steal off the corner as a snack or, probably more realistically this time of year, to feel the warmth of a perfect Charka fire is truly special.

To hear a black person laugh as only a black people can, from their heart and soul with an energy that fills the room (if you take offense to this either grow up or F%$# OFF – I’ve had a few glasses of wine on the trip back already!), to DRIVE a car again (and drive like I come from the south – no offense to Boksburg/Benoni), to watch Super 15, to get on a golf course, to play with my terrorist young nephews and to stand around and talk absolute shit with my friends for hours on end with no fear of judgment – these are a tiny piece of what home really is!

Yes sure arriving on a Sunday to the Times and Independent filled with the stories of corruption in every possible direction gets me a little irritated, in fact it makes me want to go into a few government building and mow down a few rows of people and the fact that government can’t keep its people safe, provide them with schooling, jobs, healthcare and even basic education  makes me cringe in shame because I fear we are slowing allowing this place to be destroyed but not even that could dampen my spirits!

The truth is I don’t regret what I’ve done – not for one second (not yet) but home is home and it always will be. We will continue to grow and learn and experience what the world has to offer but as long as I’m on this earth I can say that the feeling I get when I’m home is unmatched. It has become easy to speak to whoever we want whenever we want, we can see them and feel like we are living lives together just in parallel worlds but no matter what they tell you, you cannot get the feeling of being home through a computer screen!

So it turns out whatever that crazy bitch Dorothy was doing with a Lion and a Scarecrow in whatever world she found herself, she did provide me a very valuable piece of insight – there is NO PLACE like home! The one thing I wish she could also give me is the trick of clicking my heels three times because this 30 hour travel every time I want to have a beer with my mates is getting a little silly!

Nkosi sikelel iAfrica – until the next time my beautiful country . . .