Archive for May, 2013

A look at age 39 on the Journey of Life

May 30, 2013

Life is a Journey; that I have said on many occasions.  In a recent follow-up continuation of the theme I dealt with the early part of the journey and the changes that come about with full adulthood at the golden age of 40.

 Someone remarked on my choice of 40 and a long discussion followed that opened my eyes to something I had hitherto not given enough thought.  What you are now reading is dedicated to this remarkable person.

 Think about this; take your time over it.  I discover more in it every time I think about it.

 Life at 39 plus one day and all of the following 364 days should be a time of rest, reflection and laying the foundation for the next phase of the Journey.  A woman of 40 is much more beautiful than any film star of 23; a man at 40 is at his peak; there is no such thing, or there should not be, as the wrong side of 40.  What counts more than anything else is the transition from youth to full adulthood at 40?

 At 40 species homo sapiens should be able to look at two young siblings [three or four in our golden age] on the one side and two contented pairs of parents turned into grandparents by that time, to love and learn from both young and old and be wise enough to understand how blessed it is to be alive.  Being 39 is the best time to take a rest before gently gliding in on the right side of 40.

 An entire new Life starts at 40 and it is wise to use all the days of 39 to reflect on what is behind [hopefully a good decent youth] and what waits in the future.  In the most ideal circumstances the 39 year old will have 365 glorious days to reflect and plan; a smooth transition at the end is what you most need.

 This ends the part contributed by the wise person mentioned above.

 At this point I almost said; “But, alas …” before I checked myself and dropped the idea; today is a day for beauty, with no ‘buts’ or negatives.

 One, yes only one point remains and though I had planned to insert it earlier above I decided to keep the best for last.

 Before you reach 39, pre-arrange something with your wife [you also do it when she gets to the same 39th plus one day] by ensuring that your children’s grandparents on both your side and her side spend the day with you when you hit 39.

 Get them over; do whatever you have to do if they live far away; just get them there.

 Thank them; love them; let them play with your children; tell the children the day belongs to the wise old folks.  If you are in the fortunate position to arrange this, thank your God and Creator for them on that day.  Make it their day and tell them that it is your wish for them to be present again same time and place in one year from then to see you gliding past the 40 marker.

 I wish you all out there a happy 39th birthday!

Dark is the Night

May 15, 2013

There is no moon out tonight; where we are that is not unusual because we are almost center between the previous full moon and the one coming up in about two weeks from now.  It’s chilly as I sit out here at just after midnight; winter is setting in right on time this year.

 Of course we have dark moonless nights in summer too thanks to a Government Monopoly owned and managed Electricity Supply Commission that makes them do as they like but it provides me the opportunity to go outside on a summer night when the electricity is down; it is beautiful to walk out on the lawn in nature’s clothes and look up at our unpolluted skies; it is divine.  Because it is my own lawn I can do on it what I like.  I do that often and not a soul will know that I am out there on the lawn in the rear of my little habitat.

 But that is not the kind of dark that I have in mind for this Post.

 Having grown up with a good brain that was further enhanced by technical and academic studies took me into a career of forty years in statistics, marketing and technical, and I reckon that I know something about finance.  Money has never been of any greater importance to me than what I need to survive.  I travelled extensively before I retired and now live modestly with just enough to survive.  That I do with my own wits, knowledge and expertise on the Stock Exchange.

 I don’t use investment banks or advisers; they are parasites and idiots.  And they lie to you; that I won’t do to myself and I don’t like them doing it to me.  Suffices, the “experts are lying cheats” using your money to enrich themselves; they won’t have my money as well.

 But doing what I do I have to look at what they do and tell We the Peepolls [read that as Sheepolls Voters} and with World Markets in turmoil, clearly so in the immediate past few months, I just don’t see the economic recovery that politicians are trying to convince the Voter is actually happening.

 Yes, I do clearly observe flood waves of spending; in our Country the Sheepolls elected Government simply cannot understand the difference between consumerism and natural supply and demand.  Hence we are trying to consume and spend ourselves out of a recession.

 It ain’t gonna work, guys!

 Gold has been shaky and wobbling; it took a nosedive yesterday.

 Dark is the night.

Golden Secrets in the Green Hills of Africa

May 14, 2013

Not fresh off the Press; yes, recent from that too, but in this case fresh off the pen of the ambulating giant in Wit, Observation, knowledge and a razor sharp Mind, my friend and buddy the Nimrod of NOLA now in Upper State New York.

 The Internet ink was still drying on:

 Hardly, I should say on the drying; fresh of this Great Mind of the Nimrod comes:

 As recent as 1997 America had only one operating gold mine; overt one I should add, in Deadwood South Dakota.  I visited there and tarried a while to lose my money to Kevin Costner’s Casino.  Australia was then digging all over for the yellow stuff; rumors had it that the Russians had found some up their way, but South Africa still produced the largest slice of pure Gold in  ll the World.

 How have things changed in such a short time?

 Today South Africa has taken over as the biggest consumer per capita in the entire World but ranking forth in Gold Production.

 It is rumored that Russia has more reserves of the useless stuff than the others combined but they are not even bothering to take it out of the ground at this stage.  Heck, they have more oil and natural gas deposits than they can ever consume but they are just leaving it in the ground for a while.

 The questions for the ensuing weeks in South Africa will be:

 Who bought and who sold this ‘hem stack of gold in the Article?  Who paid for the bounty?  Which is the hand with the fresh grease on?

 The Green Hills of Africa are patiently waiting for answers.

Green Hills of Africa

May 13, 2013

No, this is not Hemingway 1939; it’s Africa 2013.

 And it will be short.  The statistics are my own but accurate enough for the purpose.  It’s for American readers; they will find it close enough to their own statistics.

 This presentation won’t include any Internet links or other references; not because they are not available.  They are known though but the green people of Africa don’t want them published.

 In 1973 the top rate of Income tax was 72% of earnings above R 28 000 per annum.  In what was at that stage common knowledge, and regularly published only but  exactly, 78 taxpayers were in the tax category above the astronomical income of R 250 000 per annum.  At that stage South Africa was on a fixed exchange rate of 1.32 USA dollars for one Rand SA currency.  The fact that has since changed to hover around 8 SA Rands for 1 USA dollar is not relevant to the discussion.

 The fortunate 78 were all entrepreneurs.  A top salary for a senior position in Finance, Banking and other large corporations was just touching on R 12 000 per annum; salaried workers that we can call 825 workers working from 8 am to 5 pm] weren’t near that; a high middle management salary was maybe R 7 000 per annum; the first step on the corporate ladder paid about R 4 000 and that was good income when a medium sized car would set you back under R 2 000 and a good house in an average medium to middle class market suburb came at R 10 000.  The Town Clerk was running Municipal Government; a good one in a large town took home maybe R 6 000 per annum.  Town Mayors were honorary positions drawing small stipends and had to obtain City Council permission to entertain a good supplier.

 Things changed after Nixon took America off the Gold Standard in 1973; inflation hit the country when international economic embargos started to have effect.  But no 825 salaried worker earned anything near R 24 000 when South Africa went off the fixed exchange rate with America in June of 1981.

 The floating rand/dollar and other exchange rates took a heavy toll.  Bank interest rates shot up to over 20% in the early 1980’s but it must be noted that American interest rates also peaked above 10% during the same time.  By the time 1989 was drawing to a close senior executive salaries had just passed the R 120 000 per annum high mark.

 The same 78 entrepreneurs were still paying top tax though at smaller marginal rates than in 1973

 Early 1990 something happened.  Executive 825 salaries overtook the entrepreneur, passed him, and then increased the numbers.  Government salaries doubled, trebled and kept on going.  Municipal Government salaries to Mayors and Municipal managers started at R 50 000 per month and soon reached one million per annum, and continued to rise.

 At the end of 1990 it was reported that 1 000 salaried workers were drawing more than 2 million a year; at the end of 1999 the News Media had fallen behind in reporting but an estimated 5 000 ordinary 825 employees had by then crowded the 78 entrepreneurs of 1973 out of the space on the green millionaires list.

 By 2003 the first 5 000 had gone to even greener pastures at 10, then rapidly 20 million smackers per annum; from further down the green list the next group estimated at maybe 10 000 previously poor and disadvantaged new rich had taken up the lowly 2 to 6 million per annum group of a lighter green left behind by the exalted bright green pioneers.  Right below them a new group emerged; once again it is an estimate; at anywhere around 40 000 of them biding their time in the ½ to 1 and one ½ million a year; pale green would seem to describe such a lowly color.

 As 2013 dawned Internet spooks got wise on the greens and we now have teams of them targeting the green colonies with cellular phone sim card withdrawals on fat bank accounts; it is becoming a test of clashing wills and our Government has just acted by ramming a Government Secrecy Bill through Parliament to prevent any publication of green salaries; all names or details are now State Secrets in order to stop the Sim Card Fraud epidemic.

 If you add all the figures up you will find that the greens [pale to light to bright green] add up to 10% of 1% [in other words, 0.01%] of the total population of the country; there is thus plenty space left before we overdo it at a round 1% of the other hues of color in the Rainbow.

 You guys don’t believe me?

 Well, I don’t blame you but I said that I won’t bore you with links and such trivial things.  You have the wonder of Internet, don’t you?  Just Google any combination of ‘Elmarie Weideman, Media24, Fin24 ABSA Bank, Sim Card Fraud in South Africa, Ex-Absa employee complaint that the bank doesn’t react’,   You want to LYOAO, just Google ‘ABSA Bank mitigates for Elmarie Weideman Sim Card Fraud Fin24 report’ and you will crawl on all fours laughing.  Have a Jack Daniel when you can’t breath from laughing [the Black Jack one please note; the green one is much too young, only for Kentucky folks, you know].

 Ike Jakson, Tennessee Squire, class of June 1986.

Billions of Road Markers on Life’s Journey

May 8, 2013

Yes, we have about seven [or is it nine?] billion people alive on earth on this day; that makes for the same number of road markers/milestones because each one on Life’s Journey is unique.

 Some will say, with which I agree, that human life starts at conception but I don’t want to dwell on that today except to say that the Journey of Life begins at birth.  What happens during the previous nine months will certainly have an effect on how each individual is going to cope with his World but the subject is a long one and one needs to start somewhere.  Shall we say that individual life of the human being separate from his mammal source starts out on his journey at birth?

 In the very beginning he survives by instinct; if the need for food and shelter is provided his own life will in due course become his own unique journey.

 Having food and shelter taken care of by others, one’s own unique journey will kick off almost from day one.  Of course, life’s actions in the first few days or weeks will largely be in the form of reaction to the treatment that a new human being gets when opening those little eyes for the first time; a smiling baby or a little human prone to crying or cringing will soon show and will be brought to bear as he grows and develops in later life.

 For the purposes of this writing I am therefore, also going to assume that the treatment, food, shelter and degree of love shown to him will be what it should be though all are not as fortunate as others.  You surely don’t want to read nine billion pages today; so let us assume that they are all healthy, well fed and sheltered on the day they start out.

 How many do we count for last week Sunday?  What about the day before, or the same date a year ago?  How about the same day forty years ago?

 The forty years old today have only one thing in common besides being exactly the same age.  That little thing is called by only one word that you spell U.N.I.Q.U.E and please note that it is not similar to anything else.  Being unique has no synonyms for the human being.

 Let me jump a little ahead and have a look at our sample of mankind [humanity] that entered life as babies on this day forty years ago. How many do we have we; you decide but I am sure you will agree that it would be a fair sample in statistics or scientific studies?

 You will also find that our sample will be roughly half male and the other half female because these things simply happen, or are made to happen that way; the reason or the way it happens to be so cannot be of any influence in any sample you may wish to consider.

 Hence this morning rose, say, one hundred thousand males in full manhood and the same number of females in full grown womanhood, all having only one thing in common; that they are all beginning the first day of 41 on this day.

 Many [most I would daresay], will have passed their memories and/or experiences of their own babyhood and childhood days on to their offspring by now, many with joy and many with regret but at the age of forty joy or regret for things past will not change anything for the future.

 The die is cast before you get to the walk between forty and fifty.  If you wanted to climb mountains you would have done so by now; some would have fallen off the cliffs in trying; some would have succeeded to the high summits and others would have come down off the slopes by choice and taken the even straight roads over the landscape of Life’s Journey; those who fell and did not get up to try again are most likely to remain by the roadside.  The die has been cast; most will arrive at fifty having walked in style or strife on the most splendid stretch of road life has on offer.  You are where you will be or was meant to be at forty; the following ten years will produce the harvest; from there on the chosen road can hardly be changed for some other more hopeful or easier route.

 Who casts the die or how is it done?

 That’s really very simple.  Life at forty and thereafter is shaped by emotions and perceptions formed and shaped since the day one is born; early differences in reaction will appear; reactions may turn into one’s own actions; they will in turn cause reactions of a kind in others of the same age; the country where you are born [whether you moved elsewhere?] will have an effect; faith and own free will may clash or find harmony.  However, either way will be determined by your own set of emotions and perceptions about life.  That is the only truth; there is no other.

 Is this the summary of Life’s Journey?  Yes, mankind [each one on his/her own] will be where they want to be.  Sorry, with apologies but no crawling on bended knee, young people under forty, you can’t talk about life because you have a computer and the Internet whereas those of my generation did not have it; come to think of it, neither did we have telephones or paved/tarred roads, but we managed.

 If I could have my life over ….?  Come off it, little ones, this old guy doesn’t want it.  It has been a good life with all the ups and downs.  We handled shortages and complications our way; you go right ahead and handle your times.  Just remember, we are way past forty but you still have to get there.

 Is this to be continued?  Of course, smart ass.  You will know that too one day: at least I hope you will, but you have to get there first.  You have to find a way to live with one percent of the people living it up with two and one half million smackers a year while the guy working the orchards or sweeping the road gets by at one thousand per month without killing you.  We didn’t have that in our day either, so perhaps I am the one to shut up.

 How can you live with a conscience if this appears in the local press?

 Is this leading us to the old African cliché that “for the lion to feed, something has to die?”

 Don’t cry for the Beloved Country; cry for thee and the children yet to be born to thee.