Actually, 2016 was a good year


Now that we’re officially in 2017, and most of you are home, here are my thoughts on the New Year.

First, let’s get this out of the way. 2016 sucked, and we said goodbye to many celebrities and loved ones, and Trump is the president elect of the USA. Things seem to have turned out pretty shitty.

But, as we sometimes forget we do, we focus on the negative things, and we neglect to look for a balance between good and bad. Many beautiful and amazing things also happened in 2016, such as new chemotherapy breakthroughs that will give hope to so many cancer patients, scientists linked robotic limbs to the human brain giving hope to amputees, child mortality rates are going down, the gene responsible for ALS was found, a solar powered plane circumnavigated the world, tiger, manatee, and panda numbers are growing, 70,000 Muslim clerics declared a fatwa against ISIS, volunteers in India planted 50 million trees in 24 hours, coffee consumption has been proved to curtail cancer and suicide rates, 500 elephants were relocated to better and safer homes, massive strides in Alzheimers prevention were made, a new radiation sickness therapy was developed in Israel, the Rabbinical Assembly issued a resolution affirming the rights of transgender and non-conforming individuals, precision treatments for cancer are hitting clinical trials, and Leo FINALLY won that Oscar!

(More good news here

Yes, we had a shocking list of family members, friends, and celebrities who passed away during 2016, and we are saddened by the massive loss of companionship, connections, and talent, but we need to also remember the other behind-the-scenes people who are working really hard and dedicating their lives to making the world a better place, and we need to see all the lives that were and will be saved and improved by the amazing discoveries made.

That being said, I am also taking something positive from all the deaths in 2016. The fact that we were sad and that we mourned them showed me that we are not blasé about death, that we still feel deeply, and that our humanity is still intact.

So I propose that we focus on and celebrate the good in the world, the innovation, the good deeds, the good people, the positive. We need to remind ourselves that we are capable of so much more than what we believe, and that we need to look inward and see our value ourselves, and find the solutions and positivity inside ourselves, instead of listening to the doom and gloom, and negativity of politicians and the media.

We need to set our different opinions aside, and in love we should celebrate our humanity, and work together to build a better world. Together we can fight oppression, inequality, and all the bad that is forced on us.

So I wish you all an amazing and prosperous, positive, joyful, happy, and successful 2017!

Let us be the light in the world.


Musings on choices, fate, and death

Do our decisions affect others or just how they affect us? Or do our decisions lead to, or avoid collisions of fate, or do we collide anyway but our decisions just change the impact the intertwined fate has on our lives?
Do we even have a choice, and if we do, could we change fate by making different choices? How would knowing the full outcome change the decisions we make? Do we perhaps make decisions too hastily without thinking of all the repercussions? Yes, fate, decisions, and future outcomes are like an intricate chess game, but are we too impatient when making decisions? Did we go from making wise decisions after careful deliberation, to a game of speed chess where we rely on instinct? Would we be more effective in making a positive future with positive outcomes if we pause, meditate, and deeply consider our decisions have on our futures and the future of others?
Or do we just delay the inevitable fate we all face, or perhaps just play into the hands of destiny?
Would things have been different if other decisions were made? If you reach out and get to know someone (as opposed to making the opposite decision), would they have been with you and have done something different at the time when they should have died; by making that decision to get to know them, you would have changed the outcome? Or is the line drawn and their death imminent, and your original decision only means that they are no longer a stranger and that you will now be mourning their death?

Sore throat remedy (experimental)

Just cooked up a batch of this. Gonna try it and I will let you know if it works

1/2 cup grated fresh ginger
2/3 cup honey
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup molasses 
1/2 cup water
1tsp cinnamon
1/4tsp cloves
Heat all ingredients on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring continuously
When there is quite a bit of steam coming off, switch off plate, cover with lid, and let it steep for at least an hour
Strain the mixture when cool
Take 1-2 teaspoons when needed

To Joy – a poem by Friedrich Schiller, 1785

Joy, beautiful spark of Gods,
Daughter of Elysium,
We enter, fire-imbibed,
Heavenly, thy sanctuary.
Thy magic powers re-unite
What custom’s sword has divided
Beggars become Princes’ brothers
Where thy gentle wing abides.

Be embraced, millions!
This kiss to the entire world!
Brothers – above the starry canopy
A loving father must dwell.
Whoever has had the great fortune,
To be a friend’s friend,
Whoever has won the love of a devoted wife,
Add his to our jubilation!
Indeed, whoever can call even one soul
His own on this earth!
And whoever was never able to must creep
Tearfully away from this circle.

Those who dwell in the great circle,
Pay homage to sympathy!
It leads to the stars,
Where the Unknown reigns.

Joy all creatures drink
At nature’s bosoms;
All, Just and Unjust,
Follow her rose-petalled path.
Kisses she gave us, and Wine,
A friend, proven in death,
Pleasure was given (even) to the worm,
And the Cherub stands before God.

You bow down, millions?
Can you sense the Creator, world?
Seek him above the starry canopy.
Above the stars He must dwell.
Joy is called the strong motivation
In eternal nature.
Joy, joy moves the wheels
In the universal time machine.
Flowers it calls forth from their buds,
Suns from the Firmament,
Spheres it moves far out in Space,
Where our telescopes cannot reach.

Joyful, as His suns are flying,
Across the Firmament’s splendid design,
Run, brothers, run your race,
Joyful, as a hero going to conquest.
As truth’s fiery reflection
It smiles at the scientist.
To virtue’s steep hill
It leads the sufferer on.
Atop faith’s lofty summit
One sees its flags in the wind,
Through the cracks of burst-open coffins,
One sees it stand in the angels’ chorus.

Endure courageously, millions!
Endure for the better world!
Above the starry canopy
A great God will reward you.
Gods one cannot ever repay,
It is beautiful, though, to be like them.
Sorrow and Poverty, come forth
And rejoice with the Joyful ones.
Anger and revenge be forgotten,
Our deadly enemy be forgiven,
Not one tear shall he shed anymore,
No feeling of remorse shall pain him.

The account of our misdeeds be destroyed!
Reconciled the entire world!
Brothers, above the starry canopy
God judges as we judged.
Joy is bubbling in the glasses,
Through the grapes’ golden blood
Cannibals drink gentleness,
And despair drinks courage–
Brothers, fly from your seats,
When the full rummer is going around,
Let the foam gush up to heaven*:
This glass to the good spirit.

He whom star clusters adore,
He whom the Seraphs’ hymn praises,
This glass to him, the good spirit,
Above the starry canopy!
Resolve and courage for great suffering,
Help there, where innocence weeps,
Eternally may last all sworn Oaths,
Truth towards friend and enemy,
Men’s pride before Kings’ thrones–
Brothers, even it if meant our Life and blood,
Give the crowns to those who earn them,
Defeat to the pack of liars!

Close the holy circle tighter,
Swear by this golden wine:
To remain true to the Oath,
Swear it by the Judge above the stars!
Delivery from tyrants’ chains,
Generosity also towards the villain,
Hope on the deathbeds,
Mercy from the final judge!
Also the dead shall live!
Brothers, drink and chime in,
All sinners shall be forgiven,
And hell shall be no more.

A serene hour of farewell!
Sweet rest in the shroud!
Brothers–a mild sentence
From the mouth of the final judge!

SecretEats SecretSucks

My friend Al experienced this last week. He complained about this on Secret Eats’ Facebook page, but they just deleted it.
So here is the account of his experience:


Very disappointed that you deleted my comment with regards to your last event in JHB, nonetheless herewith is my review which I will share and post to blogs and social networks alike.

The Secret Eats events advertises itself with adjectives like “absolutely delicious”, “amazing wine”, “perfectly paired wines” oh yes and a chef “on top of his game” all of this, this 4-course “taste experience” AND wine pairings for R650pp. Which is rather steep by today’s standards, but it is 4 course, right, and wine pairings and a top chef, so surely, SURELY this is what you will be getting which make the R650pp a little easier to swallow.

Arrived at the event 15mins early (we were that excited, see), only to have nobody greet us at the door. So joining the other guests and wondering around like a lost flock of sheep we finally managed to grab the attention of one of the organisers. Sat down and watched entertainingly how the kitchen staff and organisers scattered around fixing drinks, packing boxes etc. Not to bother, I’m sure the food will be amazing…

Eventually more people arrived and the organisers looked out of their depth, the rest of our party arrived with no meet and greet at the door, it took another 15mins for them to get their welcome drinks which I had to attend and serve to. Received Secret Eats cards with info of another guest at the evening, I’m confused is it a singles night? Nonetheless I asked everyone, EVERYONE, if the info relates to anyone, nobody. In fact I wasn’t the only one, it seemed a great mass of us failed to find anyone. Are these even the right cards? Did anybody actually find anyone? Silly game, let’s move onto the dinner, guests are hungry.

Onto the dinner where the head-chef washed our hands, odd. We were given slices of lemon earlier on the evening which everyone had to carry around, why not just have it all in a bowl at the table from the beginning – makes common sense right, rather than to carry this lemon, and your drink and your belongings. The seats were unreserved which kind of makes it a problem when you arrive as a party of 4 and then find that there are only 2 seats here and another 2 there etc. fortunately lucky for us we managed to grab the last remaining 4 empty seats in a corner, unlucky for others I assume who wished to share the “experience” together.

The tables were set up with herb plants along the middle of the table. My particular seat was missing my “wine pairings” and the seat next to me was missing its teaspoon and fork – these being the only utensils throughout the evening. Nestled between this rainforest of plants was the table’s bottled water, still in the plastic bottle, they not bothered to have it poured into a jug of ice perhaps, that would have been nice. The first course, remember they promised courses right, the first course was a little bit of salmon with orange that had been sitting on a soup spoon since the beginning of the night. Charming but I hear salmonella is a fantastic diet plan.

The second course I can only describe as being coffee mash on a small pastry, but lets not forget our wine pairings which still happened to be the same red and white wine from the beginning. I’m not a wine connoisseur by any means, but I’m pretty certain that wine pairings mean you actually get a different glass of wine to pair per course, not the same wine through the ENTIRE evening. But like I said I’m not a connoisseur just a simple fool sitting with a fork and teaspoon, from a different set I might add.

The third course: a baby tomato in a shot glass with a dark chocolate drop inside. By this time my stomach is eating my spine I’m so hungry; it was at this stage that I realised these were the actual courses and not canapés. Sigh. Finally some food arrived that required you to actually chew, a little bit of chicken on a stick. When a member of our party told the chef, Shaun Woolf, that she is a vegetarian, his response and I quote, “Not my problem, you will have to wait until the next course”. Excuse me!? Now as a chef, a top chef, a chef that is supposedly on top of your game, it is your problem. Surely you are capable of going back into the kitchen and providing an alternative. I can understand egos, I watch Gordon Ramsay religiously, but champ your food isn’t even good, the setup is drastically poor, people are virtually sitting on top of each other and the only thing separating the dining area to the reception and kitchen is a shower curtain. He then exclaimed that nobody told him about a vegetarian being here on the night, a challenge far too great for this man. When the situation was explained to the organiser, sure enough there in his notes, high-lighted and circled is the dietary requirements for 1 vegetarian. Top chef here then came back with a plate consisting of 3 separate pea pods. Three.pea.pods. I kid you not.

Wine pairings so far, the same red and white wine since the beginning. Not even sure if I can even classify this as “wine pairings”. When asking the waiter to see the wine, the red was from an unlabelled bottle – could very well have been boxed wine. Nobody on the night bothered to exclaim exactly what wine we happened to be drinking.

The fourth course: we were instructed to grab some of the herbs from the plants decorating our table and start preparing our own pesto. Yes, we are now making our own food. Hoping this would actually lead to something worthwhile, we were then given a small bowl of pasta. A bowl of ice-cold pasta I might add, of which the majority was then sent back so they could be nuked in the microwave. The gent next to me, his pasta was so overcooked it turned into mash when he started mixing in his own pesto which he had to make.

It was at this time we had enough. Hungry, annoyed, having just wasted the last 2hrs making our own pesto, drinking boxed wine, dealing with a rude chef, eating nothing but pathetic canapés we left. For R650 this is what you get. Are you havin a laugh Secret Eats? I feel like you are nothing but con artists, over-selling something that clearly isn’t. Venue was a joke. Food was an embarrassment. Organisation was laughable.

You want to know how it’s done right, The Waterford Restaurant hold proper wine pairing evenings only once a month. Proper 5 course meals that require you to use more than just a fork and a teaspoon, where meals aren’t prepared and presented in a shot glass. Where wine and different wine is served per course and it’s not unlabelled in fact the wine farmer is with you on the night and how much does it cost, R600? R500? Try R295, more than half the price that you cons ask for. And you land up supporting the UJ School of Tourism and Hospitality.

We were also told there would be a raffle on the night supporting a local charity. Whatever happened to that Secret Eats? Just shut it down because you’re robbing people of their time and money. It’s pathetic.

Aristophanes’ Speech – Plato’s Symposium on Love

Before launching his speech, Aristophanes warns the group that his eulogy to love may be more absurd than funny. His speech is an explanation of why people in love say they feel “whole” when they have found their love partner. He begins by explaining that people must understand human nature before they can interpret the origins of love and how it affects the then present time. It is, he says, because in primal times people had doubled bodies, with faces and limbs turned away from one another. As somewhat spherical creatures who wheeled around like clowns doing cartwheels, these original people were very powerful. There were three sexes: the all male, the all female, and the “androgynous,” who was half male, half female. The males were said to have descended from the sun, the females from the earth and the androgynous couples from the moon. The creatures tried to scale the heights of heaven and planned to set upon the gods. Zeus thought about blasting them to death with thunderbolts, but did not want to deprive himself of their devotions and offerings, so he decided to cripple them by chopping them in half, in effect separating the two bodies.

Zeus then commanded Apollo to turn their faces around and pulled the skin tight and stitched it up to form the navel which he chose not to heal so Man would always be reminded of this event. Ever since that time, people run around saying they are looking for their other half because they are really trying to recover their primal nature. The women who were separated from women run after their own kind, thus creating lesbians. The men split from other men also run after their own kind and love being embraced by other men. Those that come from original androgynous beings are the men and women that engage in mutual love. He says some people think homosexuals are shameless, but he thinks they are the bravest, most manly of all, as evidenced by the fact that only they grow up to be politicians, and that many heterosexuals are adulterous men and unfaithful wives. Aristophanes then claims that when two people who were separated from each other find each other, they never again want to be separated. This feeling is like a riddle, and cannot be explained. Aristophanes ends on a cautionary note. He says that men should fear the gods, and not neglect to worship them, lest they wield the axe again and we have to go about with our noses split apart. If man works with the god of Love, they will escape this fate and instead find wholeness.

Source: Wikipedia