Monday, 27 March 2017

Shape of You

It's Monday. Time for gym. Or in my case, time for a run. Or a walk. Whatever. I don't mind what you're doing to get you going today. But don't skip it. 

And if you need an even better reason than "just go", remember exercise helps your brain function better. Here's how

What do you mean it's too cold; you're too tired; the weekend was too good? It's Monday. Time to shine. If you don't go today, you'l never do tomorrow.

And we've even got some music. Here's Ed Sheeran's Shape of You.

Every day discovering something brand new
I'm in love with your body
I'm in love with your body
I'm in love with your body
I'm in love with your body
Every day discovering something brand new
I'm in love with the shape of you

Crank up the volume. Put those shoes on. Let's do this.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

The Failed #RepealAndReplace - Tweets and Toons

This week was the most epic fail in the Trump Presidency so far, with the failure of the #RepealandReplace of Obamacare with TrumpCare. As someone on Twitter pointed out, this wasn't A thing that the Republicans promised, it was THE thing.

I know you've had enough. But I need to do this. I've so enjoyed all the memes, and the pokes and the digs, and especially those that refer to things he said he'd do, and is now contradicting big time.

I have a need to put them all in one place. So that I won't forget. What he said. What happened. And then what we said back.

Because I know that in the fulness of time, all this may be forgotten. And I don't think it should be.

If you have no idea what I am talking about, read this first. This is what happened. On Friday, Trump and Ryan, realising that the bill that should have been a slam dunk was going to fail to be passed, pulled it, just before the vote.

And this with Republicans having full control of the House of Representatives. Click the picture for the NYT article.

And just in case you're in a parallel universe that "forgot" that the POTUS ever promised to do this, here are the 70 tweets where he said he would. Click the tweet.

This was how my morning started on Saturday. With my favourite tweet.

Followed by these hilarious ones....

In case you need a little context for this next one - here you go. Kellyanne Conway believes that microwaves can spy on us all..

This was my second favourite... (Click to see the gif)

And then there were the cartoons - let's close off with a few of those, shall we?


I don't really feel the need to close off with anything amusing - these kind of say it all, don't they?

We'll let Trevor have the last word...

Friday, 24 March 2017

Ten of the Best #85

Another week, another month nearly over. And now the wonderful weekend is upon us. Yay, time to do all the stuff we didn't get to during the week. What did you miss on social media? I'm so glad you asked.

Angela Merkel met President Trump. And these are the tweets, people. When Angela owned Trump, the 10 favourites. Click the Zapiro latest.

And in our own beloved country, Helen was trumped by her thumbs. Read this by Ian von Memerty. (or this by Eusebius MacKaiser)

Why we still need feminism. Amal Clooney gives a powerful speech at the U.N., but what is everyone talking about? Not her speech.

Some secret hideaway beaches for you to swoon over...

Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad writes to President Trump.

It was World Poetry Day this week. Let's get out those famous words shall we? I loved this post.

And this, in case you forgot why you love Adele so much...

The librarian's take on Bruno Mars, love it.

Old people and technology - My blackberry's not working. This made me chuckle.

This little girl decided her dance routine was way better than the one she'd learned. Cute.

Well, that was fun. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. See you all next week.

Here's last week, if you're still catching up.

All the tens this year, so far.


Friday Books - Our Fathers

Finally, I'm blogging properly again. 

It's taken me a while this year to get my groove. But the books I've read have helped, and the one I'm sharing today looks great. Our Fathers by Karin Brynard.

Here's the blurb: 
"In one of Stellenbosch’s most affluent areas an apparent house break-in goes awry, leaving a millionaire property developer’s beautiful wife dead. Inspector Albertus Beeslaar, in town to visit a former colleague, is reluctantly drawn in to the investigation led by the formidable Captain Vuyokazi Qhubeka of the Stellenbosch saps. Soon this picturesque town with its historic white gables, world-famous wineries and big money begins to reveal its dark underbelly.
Fifteen hundred kilometres to the north, Sergeant Johannes Ghaap is thrust into a drama of his own as he races to save a kidnapped woman and her child, who are being held captive in Soweto. Fate will steer him to The Fatha – a man capable of such evil that most consider him a mere urban legend …
Our Fathers is the translation of the Afrikaans bestseller Onse vaders, a novel that sees the return of Karin Brynard’s much-loved hero Beeslaar and establishes Brynard as one of the country’s finest writers of crime fiction. "

BookBeginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader, and The Friday 56 - hosted by Freda’s Voice are the hosting sites for the Friday link ups, where we discover more books, and make friends. Both involve sharing excerpts from a current book - the beginning and - you guessed it - page 56.

It's clearly a funeral. But whose? And why? And it's definitely a murder, not a 'natural circumstances' death. It's translated from Afrikaans, which is similar to Dutch - dominee is translated priest.

Ooh I am enjoying this. I read to page 56 last night, so that I could share this today. I keep wanting to read more.

Hope you enjoy your reading weekend.

Leave a comment and I'll visit you back.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis

Forty years ago, Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky wrote a series of breathtakingly original studies undoing our assumptions about the decision-making process.

Michael Lewis, author of the best-sellers The Blind Side, The Big Short, (both movies), and also Moneyball, Liar’s Poker and Flash Boys doesn't have anything left to prove, and it’s quite fun reading an author with this degree of confidence.

The story of an unlikely friendship that changed the way we think (certainly not the world) is interesting at best. The Lewis magic, which takes the interesting and explodes it into the fascinating, page-turning, breathtaking was only partially in operation here. I thoroughly enjoyed the description of the friendship and collaboration between these two. Their personalities and fascinating histories came alive, and at times I felt lie a fly on the wall. The sentimentality of the relationship, rich in generosity, then sad in its unravelling was poignant. I loved the way that they were better together, and the moments where their ideas fed off each other were a little magical, well expressed. 

But Lewis missed a trick. The world these two academics cracked open is more than interesting. Apart from telling a few of their stories from their more famed papers, he defaulted to the story of the probabilistic mistake that we all make. He then explored it over and over again from different angles, but still not much depth. I’ve read other books in this field, with way more interest, and that offered way more explanation. Behavioural finance is not difficult, and can be made far more enticing - like Misbehaving by Richard Thaler, for instance. 

Another issue I had was the opening chapter, which seems to be the author’s own reflections on his earlier work, Moneyball - which I haven't read, because I have no interest in American baseball selection criteria. I still don’t. Fortunately for me, this had absolutely no relevance to the rest of the book. Others may have expected differently and been disappointed.

Still worth a read if you enjoy behavioural psychology and are interested in the Kahneman and Tversky story.

3 stars


You may also enjoy Misbehaving by Richard Thaler or Flash Boys by Michael Lewis.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

"I believe that books, once written, have no need of their authors." So said Elena Ferrante, anonymous creator of what has been termed ‘a modern masterpiece’. My Brilliant Friend is about two friends, Elena and Lila who grow up in a village in Naples, Italy. They’re poor, it’s 1950 and these children are rough, tough, resourceful and fierce.

There are too many characters in chapter one. My head was reeling, and I had to keep checking back. It’s a small town, and we meet the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker. We see historical events unfolding as the children grow up, and are sucked in to the tiny details of their lives, which are described such matter of factness that we forget to be impressed with the violence, the dire need and the desperation. LenĂ¹ (Elena) and Lila are centre stage and we feel every emotion, the dust on their feet and the frustration in their very souls.

A quiet book, but strong, intense and ultimately powerful. Apparently (it all goes a little over my naive head), Ferrante doesn't follow any writing rules. She writes and does whatever she likes. She doesn’t give author interviews, promote the book, isn't on social media and (until she was outed last year) has remained relatively anonymous. And the irony in that is, apparently the series (the Neapolitan Novels) is such a runaway success, that my brother-in-law, who bought this for me for Christmas had to hunt it down - it was sold out in all major book stores where I live.

This is an author and a book that doesn't really care what you think of it. I like it more for that. I will be hunting down the other four novels, especially since it has been put on the stage and #4 was short listed for the Booker Prize in 2016.

Highly recommended. Thoroughly enjoyed.

4 stars

ISBN: 9781609450786

You may also enjoy The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, or Commonwealth by Ann Patchett.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The Mother's Promise by Sally Hepworth

The Mother's Promise is a story of a teenage girl, Zoe, who has anxiety issues, and her single mother, Alice,  who isn't well. Alice is completely alone (apart from her daughter), and needs a solution to the problem of what will happen if perchance, she doesn't make it? How does she go about trying to find someone to care for Zoe, someone who will protect her and care for her the way she always has? Neither Alice nor Zoe are particularly trusting of others, nor do they relate easily to those outside their universe. 

Sally Hepworth is famous in my reading world for creating warm, endearing stories. Real characters, with true to life problems that tug at heartstrings and get my emotions going. This one has Zoe. 

The mother in you will reach out to this troubled soul, wanting her to find her way in the boggy morass that is the high school (anti)social environment, desperate for her to find friends, kindred spirits, understanding souls. Try not to wring your hands, or get too emotionally connected - it is just a story - that's the thing about these books. 

Like The Secrets of Midwives and The Things We Keep, they get under your skin. Told with a light touch that manages to see the silver lining without being preachy and find the rainbow's pot of gold without diminishing the harsh realities, you are in accomplished hands here.

I loved this book, finished it in a day or two and won't easily forget it.

An enchanting story.

You may also enjoy The Things we Keep or The Secrets of Midwives, both by Sally Hepworth. Or what about Commonwealth by Anne Patchett? Or I Found You by Lisa Jewell

ISBN: 9781250077752

4 stars

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Ten of the Best #84

Hey hey hey, it's Saturday. Yes it is. So stay right there, unless you don't have your morning brew yet. If you don't, you may go and get it, if you promise to come right back.

The fun starts here, when we recap - all those videos we never watched to the end, because the wifi was so slow, or we ran out of data on the train, those articles that looked so interesting, but were just too long to read, and those adorable animals, but we skimmed past, because we were sitting next to the boss in the meeting, and had to put out phones down. (Not that that ever happens, right?)

This week was a cracker. I'm sure you all saw the guy whose kids interrupted his oh-so-professional-from-my-home-office TV report. It was fabulous. Jimmy Kimmel includes it in his round up of the US week, which also summarises the storm, the healthcare bill, and Kelly-Anne Conway's latest faux pas. I don't know about you, but I prefer getting my news from comedians these days.

Did you see someone uploaded how the female version of the BBC guy would have turned out. Take a look, it's hilarious.

Not so funny is the fact that it only took a few days for this to happen to the little girl facing down the Wall Street bull (see last week's ten for the story). A few days. Pity Trump never tweeted about this.

That got me thinking and remembering something I saw last week -  about women and men in the workplace. True story, real evidence. Fascinating. Outcome: she left. Click the picture for the story, told in tweets.

Is that why wine? Read this (fairly lengthy, but excellent) article from Marie Claire. You tell me? Because if that is why we drink, it also may be why I stop. (BTW, I loved this Sarah Bessey very personal account on why she stopped, too.)

In local news, SASSA made the Constitutional Court yesterday. Pierre de Vos summed up possibilities, but click the Zapiro pic for the outcome. Bravo bravo Mogoeng Mogoeng.

This is one reaction to the ongoing saga. It's only Ndileka Mandela, quoting her grandfather. And it's nothing like what the ANCWL said at the end of the previous article. Thinking (hoping) there may be many more.

If I wrote a book, I'd be mad if the movie adaptation was significantly different. It happened to Jodi Picoult, except that everyone preferred her original book to the movie, so she was vindicated, sort of. Here are some more authors who hated the movies.

And this court case reveals when the Oxford comma can be very, very important.

Stop the world for a minute and listen to Pentatonix. Their haunting harmonies reveal the genius of John Lennon's Imagine, and the message they've chosen to portray is powerful. I loved this.

You see. Music lessons, and you could have done that. That, and so much more - read this.

That's our ten, that's actually eleven (yes, count it out) folks. See you next week, same time, same place for some more.

Here's last week, in case you missed it.

And the year, so far.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Friday Books - The Undoing Project

Hello Friday Bloggers and fellow bookworms.

If you're back again - apologies for my rushed post last week - everything was conspiring against me. Eventually I left off the images, and just abandoned my post. You know those blogging days, when the formatting takes longer than the writing, and you could toss your laptop in the nearest puddle, pool, or ocean?

No moaning today, I've got a brand new book....

BookBeginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader, and The Friday 56 - hosted by Freda’s Voice are the hosting sites for the Friday link ups, where we discover more books, and make friends. Both involve sharing excerpts from a current book - the beginning and - you guessed it - page 56.

Here's my Book Beginning...

I really enjoy Michael Lewis. He knows how to tell a story. My favourite was Flash Boys, but I also enjoyed The Big Short. And of course I watched The Blind Side. Who didn't? I never did read Moneyball, but The Undoing Project looks good, and I don't think it matters if I haven't read Moneyball? I probably will though, after I'm done with this.

The beginning is ok, I will keep reading, because I know he can write better than that!

See what I mean? And this is a true story. For those of you who didn't follow the earlier link, it follows the friendship of Daniel Kahneman (author of ) and Amos Tversky, two psychology professors, whose thinking and writing changed the way we think (or the world, depending which book you read!)

Have a happy weekend, I wish you many delightful hours spent reading.