Archived smiles

This is the page with our old smiles…

OK, OK I know – I have not put all (actually hardly any) of the old smiles here yet, but be patient and I will add them over the next few months.

The Friday Smile (230312) … La Sonrisa del Viernes

Hola amigos y amigas,

That time of the week (month?) again … weekend almost upon us and time to start winding down a little – for those of you who still bother to get wound up to start with!

It has been a great few weeks. Madrid has seen the full start of Spring, except for a few days this week when it snowed! But given I was in London, I hardly noticed! It has also been the time when I have started training in a little more earnest for the Madrid marathon on April 22nd. Given that is now less than a month a way, I think I should probably be praying in earnest too!

What is really nice is that as my distances increase, the magnificent El Retiro with a circumferance of about 5km has become a little constraining – and so I have ventured further afield to get in some longer runs. In the process, I have rediscovered parts of Madrid I had forgotten. Running along the Paseo de Prado (and Recoletes and Castellana) with its wide pavements designed for walking (ie “paseos”), and magnificent buildings is amazing. And it reminds me of how I have discovered many magnificent cities and towns around the world – while going for a run (normally squeezed between business functions or a stolen weekend before a week of meetings or conference). Although with my appalling sense of direction, I occasionally discover more of the city than I had anticipated.

I managed my first 21 km in a long time, a few weekends ago. A 3 x 7km lap race. Interesting in that in the first lap I noted one small incline; in the second lap that incline had turned into the foothills of the Pyrenees with a few other hills dotted around; and it was only in the final lap did I realise that the course was actually a cleverly disguised mountain race that only went  uphill – with no downhill. How we arrived back at the same altitude is something for Einstein to mull over while updating the Theory of Relativity to fit this new phenomenon.

This week saw me sneaking across the Channel for a few days in England. And if I had thought the Madrid Spring was good … well, England was even better. The place is awash with daffodils and blossoms and for an incredible 4 days, there was no rain and mostly sun. Running along the riverbank of one of the Thames tributaries, in the early mornings, (near Andy & Maria’s home in Surrey) was truly magnificent. Birds, ducks, squirrels, Labradors, moored houseboats, etc – just like an Emma Thompson movie!
(By the way, for the South Africans, “moored houseboat” is not to be confused with James’ conversation with his insurance assessor in Knysna where he is reported to have said “moered the house with my boat, boet!”).

While there, thanks to Doug S, I went to the Canary Wharf Squash Championships to watch the quarter finals – included the UK number 1 and the world number 1. Sheeeszh, but these guys can play squash. They make it look so easy and on a court where the ball just dies and the tin is 2 inches lower than normal courts! And Canary Wharf is pretty impressive these days – the shops and facilities and offices and flats on the water – but I suppose we have to make it easy for the poor investment bankers to spend their bonuses somewhere without them having to stray too far afield.

While in UK, the toothache that had been nagging reached epic proportions so I eventually bit the bullet (if you’ll excuse the pun) and went to a dentist who, much to my shock after an X-ray, said I had to have a wisdom tooth extracted – and she advised it should be done immediately. After cowardly looking for every excuse why it should wait, I was finally persuaded to have the “procedure” then and there. So, the what-had-been a pretty assistant turned into a concentration camp sadist and chained me into the chair. The dentist, who had been a pleasant Indian lady suddenly became a vampire and pushed a 12 inch needle into my gum. I now know why they call them wisdom teeth – it is because the anaesthesia required to extract them must be inserted through the upper palate, via the eye-ball and into the medial pre-frontal cortex of the brain – the seat of wisdom in the human cerebrum.

After a few minutes, the Asian vampire needlessly asked if the area was deadened, as she wiped off the saliva that was uncontrollably running down my chin over my lip that had collapsed into something that resembled drunken flubber; below an eyelid that had flopped half closed over an eye that seemed to be sliding down my face. I said “srrrffnnneneen” which she took to mean: “sure”, while I had meant “lets wait a few more minutes, shall we?”. Then she forced an industrial stone crusher into my mouth to, as she explained with her fangs beginning to show a little, “loosen the tooth a little”. By this stage, I had decided it best to close both eyes entirely, so the rest is my blind percepetion of events. After crushing my tooth (and part of my gum), with the said machine, she then put a gigantic pair of pliers in my mouth, put both feet on my chest and with the assistance of the concentration camp sadist, wrenched the tooth, most of my facial nerves, part of my upper palate, I suspect my inner ear and at least a few grams of cerebral cortex out of my body. I think at that stage I fainted from pain and shock while they sprayed down the blood-soaked theatre, threw away all of the extra body-bits and prepared the tooth so that when I came around it looked as if they had only extracted the tooth which was lying (actually I think, twitching) on a plate next to me.  When she sweetly asked: “Would you like to rinse?”, I thought it a bit like asking the hypothermic, frostbitten gangrened survivor of Scott’s expedition to the Antarctic if he wanted a hot water bottle!

Anyway, in true stoic South African fashion ( 🙂 ), I completed my days work and flew back to Spain last night, surviving on soup and Ibuprofen. To be met by a slightly bleary-eyed (gorgeous) Vivi who, beyond the call of duty at 01h00 in the morning, insisted on making me more soup. What a girl!

I have a pile of books half completed, although one I did complete was Cleary’s “Resilience to Risk”. For my business and public sector colleagues, it s a great read and will leave you viewing life and risks a little differently. I have almost completed another book called “Here comes everybody” by Clay Shirky. which talks about how communication has changed through the advent of the web, from a social, economic and psychological perspective. It is also a great thought-provoking book and should start to shake some of your pre-conceived perceptions of how the world works. I also started and finished “Blah blah blah” by Dan Roam. An easy read and it has some great ideas about communication – although for me it does not quite live up to “The Back of the Napkin”; but it contains enough to make it worth reading.

Movies? We saw “Red Lights” with De Niro and Sigourney W. It was almost a good movie, but it felt that a great idea with a great acting line-up had been put together too hastily. Worth seeing, if nothing else for the after-movie diner conversation it could spark, but could have been better!

OK. Onto the Smile itself. This week is going to be different – routine gets boring. So I am suggesting 2 videos to see – and one is only for runners!.

The main one is a shortish TED talk about positive psychology. Why do I think it is right for “The Smile”? Because it is actually very funny and Sean Achor from Harvard delivers his story well. Secondly, what he talks about is both inspiring and (to me at least) really important. If you have not seen it, I really recommend you take out the 12 minutes to view the video.

Positive pshychology

The second one was sent to me by (the g) Vivi. You wll probably enjoy it most if you are a jogger (no matter at what level, or at least aspire to be one). At this stage the words are only in Spanish, but I will try and get it translated for the next Smile. But even without understanding what is said, many of you (Elise, Anton, Graham, Lewis, Mike, … ) will get it immediately from the images.

Runners are crazy

For the business oriented among you, in case you missed the publicity, take a look at the latest Genesis publiction: A Boardroom Fable – where we have tried to discuss an aspect of strategic decision making in an entertaining way.

OK. Thats it for now.

Abrazos a todos.

Simon

Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.

 

 

 

The Friday Smile …. La sonrisa del viernes (290212)

Hola amigos and amigas,

Sitting at my desk at home in Madrid after an-almost 3 weeks trip to SA which was absolutely magic in all ways, other than the (the g) Vivi having to stay behind to look after Pitbull (our cat) and make a living listening to stupid foreigners murdering her language!

SA was, as always, the strange mixture of first world meets third world; ineptitude meets brilliance; optimism meets despair; tears meets laughter and Beauty meets the beast (or in DiemersfonteinSA Breweries case; barley meets the yeast)! I had the pleasure of meeting up with some old friends (some getting older), clients and colleagues – as well as meeting some wonderful new ones too (notably welcome to the Smile Nic and Heinz). From the quiet beauty of the Diemersfontein wine estate (thanks Sean and Natalia), the tranquillity of Swellendam (thanks Mands), the stunning mountains around Tulbagh at sunset (thanks Wends & the boys), the pain of running up Chapmans Peak mixed with the thrill of the views of the vast expanse of sea, and the bustle, drive and sultry thunderstorms of Jozi (thanks Mum, Dad, Mands, etc).

For those who know them (most of you), the boys are doing well in all things although they seem to have forgotten that they have my genes and should stop growing sometime soon. Devon in his final school year and Marc merely a few years behind that We chilled together in Tulbagh and then had a weekend with Mandy in Swellendam. Magic times catching up with the past, talking about the future but mainly living in the moment. A trip to Cape Agulhas (Southernmost tip of Africa where the Atlantic meets the Indian Ocean and where there is a hole-in-the-wall cafe that serves the best fish and chips in the world (according to my unbiased sister).

Almost too many highlights to mention: memorable meals, meetings, runs, laughs, embraces, wine, sunshine and music. Re the latter, I discovered Jack Parow – THE best rip-off of rap (and quite a lot of other SA tabboo), but done in a way that  still sounds great – even Vivi is making up her own words to Hosh Tokolosh – if you are part of the SA
diaspora and have a “lus” to hear some Afrikaans (warning – explicit language), click on the link.

I was even privileged to be invited to be a founder member in a new international business venture – details are still being hammered out and probably inappropriate to share them on this social blog, but it is really exciting with some potential to make a significant and positive impact in some key areas. My life is many things – but dull it is not!

The trip to and from was fairly uneventful and I successfully managed to ignore my fellow passengers for most of the trip. Actually on the way there was easy. A guy of about 35 dressed all in black including a heavy leather jacket sat next to me. Other than eating and drinking he did not move: not read, watch a movie, sleep, utter a word, remove his jacket, have a pee and apparently not even blink for the entire flight. It was really freaky. My conclusion was he had to be some sort of Russian hit-man on a contract; who spent the flight visualising his target dying with a soft gasp after having surreptitiously inserted a lethal injection in the soft area between his ribs … I MUST stop reading these Swedish detective books!!!!!!!!

Back in the land of siesta, fiesta and tapas. And it feels like I have come back to an early Spring. Running through the park early this morning, the cherry trees are full of Zen-like blossom, squirrels abound (well one at least!) and the expected temperature today is 20º – so the shock of an SA Summer and a Madrid Winter has not occurred (yet,). I am also here for at least a whole week before a likely trip to the UK, so I can catch up with the mountain of admin (including lots of ignored email and articles begun yet unfinished) as well as spend some quality time with Vivi and friends in Madrid.

I seem to have read (or at least started to read) a wide range of books at the moment including Bob Buford’s “Half Time” (making the 2nd half of your life even more significant than the first); Sean Cleary’s “Resilience to Risk” (business success in turbulent times); Goleman’s “Social Intelligence” and O’Rourke’s “Holidays in Heck” (thanks Rhonds – what a great gift). I will give a view on what is worth reading in the next Smile – but so far, all of them are excellent.

Movies? We saw the Clooney movie The Descendents over the weekend. Vivi loved it; I haven’t had such fun since the second half of Million Dollar Baby! Actually it is pretty good, but it felt a little slow to me (gasps of shock from my female readers – no doubt the slower the better, if Georgie plays a large role. What do they see in him? He just looks like someone’s ageing father to me!)… I await the responses.

Right, onward to the smiles themselves. Catch them below – thanks to the always faithful: James, Tim, Maria and Mark. Don’t miss the music videos from the past (you probably need to be over 50 to appreciate them: from Stairway to Heaven to Heart of Gold to He ain’t heavy to Lola etc – plenty of memories there).

Thats it from me.
Abrazos a todos.
Simon.

[It’s] the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time.” — Shawn Achor; TED

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What do management consultants do?

 

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The old songs.

As said above, this is an amazing collection of old songs with their original videos (note there are 5 pages of songs). Beware, if you are over 50 and like music, you could get stuck here for a long time!

Oldies but goodies

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A 1st grade school teacher had twenty-six students in her class. She presented each child in her classroom the 1st half of a well-known proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb. It’s hard to believe these were actually done by first graders. Their insight may surprise you.. While reading, keep in mind that these are first-graders, 6-year-olds, because the last one is a classic!

1.

Don’t change horses

until they stop running

2.

Strike while the

bug is close..

3.

It’s always darkest before

Daylight Saving Time.

4.

Never underestimate the power of

termites.

5.

You can lead a horse to water but

how?

6.

Don’t bite the hand that

looks dirty.

7.

No news is

impossible.

8.

A miss is as good as a

Mr.

9.

You can’t teach an old dog new

math.

10.

If you lie down with dogs, you’ll

stink in the morning.

11.

Love all, trust

me.

12.

The pen is mightier than the

pigs.

13.

An idle mind is

the best way to relax.

14.

Where there’s smoke there’s

pollution.

15.

Happy the bride who

gets all the presents.

16.

A penny saved is

not much.

17.

Two’s company, three’s

the Musketeers.

18.

Don’t put off till tomorrow what

you put on to go to bed.

19.

Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and

you have to blow your nose.

20.

There are none so blind as

Stevie Wonder.

21.

Children should be seen and not

spanked or grounded.

22.

If at first you don’t succeed

get new batteries.

23.

You get out of something only what you

see in the picture on the box.

24.

When the blind lead the blind

get out of the way.

25.

A bird in the hand

is going to poop on you.

And the WINNER and last one!

26.

Better late than

pregnant.  

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One for the Ozzies:
The following are results from an OZ-words Competition where entrants were asked to take an Australian word, alter it by one letter only, and supply a witty definition.
Clearly, you need to be an Aussie to understand.
Billab0nk: to make passionate love beside a waterhole
Bludgie: a partner who doesn’t work, but is kept as a pet
Dodgeridoo: a fake indigenous artefact
Fair drinkum: good-quality Aussie wine
Flatypus: a cat that has been run over by a vehicle
Mateshit: all your flat mate’s belongings, lying strewn around the floor
Shagman: an unemployed male, roaming the Australian bush in search of s€xual activity
Yabble: the unintelligible language of Australian freshwater crustaceans
Bushwanker: a pretentious drongo, who reckons he’s above average when it comes to handling himself in the scrub
Crackie-daks: ‘hipster’ tracksuit pants.
And for the Kiwis amongst us:
Shornbag: a particularly attractive naked sheep.
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Was in a pub last night and saw two large girls by the bar.

They both had strange accents so I said “Hello Are you two girls from Scotland?”

One of them screamed “Its WALES you idiot!”

So I immediately apologised and said “Sorry are you two whales from Scotland?

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0. I was reading in the paper today about this dwarf that got pick-pocketed.
How could anyone stoop so low.

1. The wife was counting all the 1p’s and 2p’s out on the kitchen table when she suddenly got very angry and started shouting and crying for no reason. I thought to myself, “She’s going through the change.”

2. When I was in the pub I heard a couple of dickheads saying that they wouldn’t feel safe on an aircraft if they knew the pilot was a woman. What a pair of s€xist twats. I mean, it’s not as if she’d have to reverse the bl0ody thing!

3. Local Police hunting the ‘knitting needle nutter’ who has stabbed six people in the arse in the last 48 hours, believe the attacker could be following some kind of pattern.

4. Bought some ‘rocket salad’ yesterday but it went off before I could eat it!

5. A teddy bear is working on a building site. He goes for a tea break and when he returns he notices his pick has been stolen. The bear is angry and reports the theft to the foreman. The foreman grins at the bear and says “Oh, I forgot to tell you, today’s the day the teddy bears have their pick nicked.”

6. Murphy says to Paddy “What ya talkin to an envelope for?” “I’m sending a voicemail ya thick sod!”

7. Just got back from my mate’s funeral. He died after being hit on the head with a tennis ball. It was a lovely service.

8. 19 paddies go to the cinema, the ticket lady asks “Why so many of you?” Mick replies, “The film said 18 or over.”

9. An Asian fellow has moved in next door. He has travelled the world, swum with sharks, wrestled bears and climbed the highest mountain. It came as no surprise to learn his name was Bindair Dundat.

 

The Friday Smile (310112) … La sonrisa del viernes

Yeah, I know it is not a Friday – but at least it is a smile! And a lot of people need that as we navigate the economic storm, so here we go.

As always, it has been an entertaining few weeks – mainly in Spain but a few days in London as well just to remind myself about the joys of flying. Actually, I am not complaining, with low-cost and frequent flights around Europe, it is not a  major financial drain to travel. And even if RyanAir border on using cattle-prods to get the passengers on-board and seated in time – at least they are for the main, punctual. And it is such a pleasure to hear their “ta tummm ti tummmm cheer cheer” ditty which they play when they arrive on-time. The fact that it takes 10 minutes to then navigate through the construction site that is called Gatwick is not their fault. (sometimes I think the gat- part of Gatwick is really appropriate … South African humour).

It was an especially good weekend although I only arrived early pm from London. Reading the FT weekend on the plane with a cappuccino and no looming work pressure – it felt almost like Business class travel again! Then that night we were celebrating (the G) Vivi’s fathers’ 80th birthday. Great fun – traditional Spanish food with the 14 or so family members was super, even if the rapid fire Spanish was a little challenging.

Then Sunday – well, WHAT a tennis match. It must rank as one of the best I have ever seen. Watching the two gladiators (Nadal and Djokovic) battle it out for the Oz Open was spectacular. Rafa clawing back from 2-1 (sets) and 4-1 (games) down in the 4th set, showed a tenacity and courage seldom seen even in the movies. Then watching Djokovic, dead on his feet after 5 1/2 hours (and having had a tough semi against Murray) apparently almost certainly having lost the match, then also coming back after finding some superhuman strength deep inside him to push that bit harder – well, it was awesome in every sense of the world. Pity our Spaniard had to come second, but were there really two losers in that game? They both came out as champions in my mind at least.

With the first month of the year behind us, I am beginning to get back to a better fitness as well. So I am now running most mornings and, with the Doc’s encouragement, going to start swinging the squash racket again – it feels good. Yesterday’s run was particularly special: 0º outside and dark when I left, the sky gradually turning to a deep indigo before brightening further. Running past one of the larger ponds and seeing it frozen over reminded me of the temperature; and then stopping at the outdoor gym for a few sit-ups and push-ups with the steam pouring (??whats the word?) off me – what a way to start the day! The Madrid marathon in March looks like a reasonable goal, and what about New York in November? Hmmm, let me think about it. Anyone want to join me?

A busy SA trip coming up next week. Lots of meetings but also some time to see the boys (it has been far too long) and a few catch-ups with friends. Certainly there will be many I cannot get to see, but I will be back late in the year again, without a doubt! I am also pleasantly anticipating a few weeks of Summer weather as well. While the Madrid Winter has been glorious (and the UK mild, but unsurprisingly damp!) – some real sunshine that heats your bones .. now that is what I am looking forward to.

I have been following the World Economic Forum over last week and was left with mixed feelings – see my (positive although slightly acerbic) report at GenesisMC if you are interested and have somehow missed my SM publicity on the article (what world are you living in?!   🙂 ).  Although it is an important event, I get the feeling the real action (read economic recovery) is happening on the ground all around the world with entrepreneurs of all ages starting ventures – many of which have a social element as well as a money-making aim. I was lucky enough to meet up with a few people doing just that in London last week – and, as always, left me encouraged, inspired and optimistic.

Books??? Nothing much ..  finished “Good to great” by Jim Collins last week. If you are in business and have not read it, I can recommend it. well researched with some good advice and tips. Movies? Nothing worth seeing. “Tinker. Tailor. Soldier. Spy”?? About as riveting as a period drama featuring Meryl Streep and Anthony Hopkins with gloooorious scenery! Did I mention Tin Tin in a previous Smile. That’s good in my opinion, although Devon says “that’s what all the old people say about it”!

Ah well, onto the smiles – see below. Great contributions from James McG and Tim  R in particular!

Abrazos a todos.

Simon

But before the smiles ..
because I am a serial runner, a serial optimist and as I write these blogs, my aim and hope is that at least one person who reads The Smile is moved to happiness, or is inspired, or just has a momentary experience of “feel good” perhaps in a difficult time .. because of these things, I have to add this video link. It may leave half of you vomiting because of the cheesiness, but may leave at least some of you with a “I can make a difference” feeling! Hey – and Coldplay’s music is not that bad either.

Fix you

Tell everyone what you want to do and someone will want to help you do it. – W. Clement Stone

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A great video of Billy Joel’s “We didn’t start the fire” He wrote it as a homage to the events that had happened in his life since his birth in 1949. Then someone decided to grab the appropriate images – it is reall good.

“We didn’t start the fire”

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An Arab Sheik was admitted to St Vincents Hospital for heart surgery, but prior to the surgery, the doctors needed to store his blood in case it was found to be required during the procedure. As the gentleman had a rare type of blood, it couldn’t be found locally, so, the call went out to other hospitals.

Finally a Scot was located who had a similar blood type. The Scot willingly donated his blood for the Arab. After the surgery, the Arab sent the Scotsman as appreciation for giving his blood, a new BMW, diamonds & US dollars.
A couple of days later the sheik had to go through a corrective surgery. His doctor telephoned the Scotsman who was more than happy to donate his blood again.
After the second surgery, the sheik sent the Scotsman a thank-you card & a jar of candies.
The Scotsman was shocked that the sheik this time did not reciprocate his gesture as he had anticipated. He phoned the sheik and asked him: “I thought you would be generous again, that you would give me a BMW, diamonds & money… but you only gave me a thank-you card & a jar of candies”.

To this the Arab replied: “Aye, but I now have Scottish blood in me veins”.

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We have to have one cruise ship joke …

The current plight of the Costa Concordia recalls a comment made by Churchill.

After his retirement he was cruising the Mediterranean on an Italian cruise liner and some Italian journalists asked why an ex British Prime Minister should choose an Italian ship.

“There are three things I like about being on an Italian cruise ship” said Churchill.

“First their cuisine is unsurpassed.

Second their service is superb.

And then, in time of emergency, there is none of this nonsense about women and children first”.

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Mrs. Ravioli comes to visit her son Anthony for dinner.

He lives with a female roommate, Maria.
During the course of the meal, his mother couldn’t

help but notice how pretty Anthony’s room-mate is.
Over the course of the evening, while watching

the two interact, she started to wonder if there was

more between Anthony and his room-mate than met the eye.
Reading his mom’s thoughts,

Anthony volunteered, “I know what you must be thinking,

but I assure you, Maria and I are just roommates.”

About a week later, Maria came to Anthony saying,

“Ever since your mother came to dinner, I’ve been unable to find the silver sugar bowl.

You don’t suppose she took it, do you?”
“Well, I doubt it, but I’ll email her, just to be sure.”

So he sat down and wrote an email:
Dear MaMa,
I’m not saying that you “did” take the sugar bowl from my house;

I’m not saying that you “did not” take it.

But the fact remains that it has been missing ever since you were here for dinner.
Your Loving Son

Anthony

Several days later, Anthony received a response email from his MaMa which read:

Dear Son,
I’m not saying that you “do” sleep with Maria,
and I’m not saying that you “do not” sleep with her.

But the fact remains that
if she was sleeping in her OWN bed,
she would have found the sugar bowl by now.

Your loving MaMa

Moral:

Never Bulla Shita you MaMa

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The Friday Smile … La sonrisa del viernes (051011)

Hola amigos y amigas,

Its been a few weeks since the last smile – blame it on holidays, rugby and work. But no doubt you have all survived without The Smile, although there have been a few comments about its absence (not all of them polite)!

I guess the highlight of the last few weeks was (the g) Vivi and I sneaking off for a short holiday in Menorca – a small island off the coast of Spain. Bags packed, singing “Oh, we’re going to Menorca, da da da da da daaa” . For those of you who can remember, sung to the tune of “Oh, we’re going to Barbados, …” and zipped off on Air Europa. Slightly stressful as we had a transfer of planes at Barcelona and only 40 minutes to make the transfer. Given we left 40 minutes late from Madrid, it was always going to be close. It turned out that the same plane was being used for both flights so we need not have worried.

The downside was that they had to off load all the passengers and their luggage and reload those flying on to Menorca. In the process, they forgot to reload GV’s case so she had a day of hanging around in her travelling clothes! The island is really tranquil and beautiful – no doubt in high season it is a little more crowded – but for us it was great. Turquoise, warm, crystal clear seas, soft sand  and 28º+ sunshine in the day. We zipped around the island on a rented motor-bike and you have to admire Vivi’s “cojones” to sit on the back after my 32 year absence from riding a bike – and fortunately the only time I fell off (very early on) she was not with me!

Lots more photos on my Facebook page for those wanting to see what it was like. I even made a movie of a particular day when we were sitting in a bar watching the people pass outside the window. Those Beatles purists may not like the “dubstep remix” – but hey. you gotta keep up with the times! Menorca Movie .

Beyond the holiday, plenty of working and a certain amount of sports too. I ran the CorreMadrid the other day, a short 10km through the beautiful old part of the city with about 20,000 of my closest friends! The sheer volumes and sometimes narrow streets  made it hard to get any type of speed unless you started out at the very front – but I managed to find some space and clocked the last three km in 12,5 minutes (mostly uphill) that made me feel like I’d earned the beer I (later) had. Superb organisation and great camaraderie (is that how you spell it?) and about 20º with bright sun at 09h30 – why doesn’t the whole world enjoy running?

I am writing (actually finishing because I started a few days ago) this on a Saturday evening after my (second) rugby team got frog-f” $%d out of the Rugby World Cup. No comment on the match. So I am looking forward to a Wales-SA final .. OK we have  few minor hurdles to get over before we reach that, so to all my friends in Oz, I have one thing to say:

GO BOKKE!

The gorgeous one has abandoned me to visit Granada for a few days so I am living a bachelors life for a few days. Beer cans on the table, dirty dishes in the oven, radio playing in the kitchen, CD playing in the lounge, all computers on and one cooked meal eaten in three sessions (once after cooking, the 2nd as left-overs and the 3rd left over leftovers with a bit of curry added for variation) … and am about to prepare my instant pizza for supper (looking forward to the rest of it for breakfast with the rugby). I think I have seen too many “Men behaving badly” series!!!

I, and it appears most of the rest of the world population, was sad to hear of Steve Jobs passing. He was the most incredible guy and packed more into his 56 years than most governments manage in a century! RIP Steve – hambe gahle. Actually Andy (boet) has a theory that God could not get his iPad and iPhone synchronised with his Macbook and got tired of the Apple helpline. Well, at least there will be some good technology in heaven by the time I get there …  no, what? you didn’t think heaven was on Microsoft did you? Its the PEARLY Gates!

Well, thank goodness Tim is back from his joke-less travels so I have some good ones for you and I can stop making them up like the attempt above. Contributions also from James, Mark, Rhonda and Jorge.

So, from me – have a great week. Enjoy the rugby (even if you are from Australasia) and the glorious change of seasons (unless you are from Denmark where it makes no difference 🙂 !!!) .

Abrazos a todos,

Simon

“We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it.”

Steve Jobs

 

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You are driving at a constant speed. On your left side is a drop-off (the ground is 18-24 inches below the level you are travelling on), and on your right side is a fire engine travelling at the same speed as you ….. in front of you is a galloping horse, which is the same size as your car and you cannot overtake it … behind you is a galloping zebra. Both the horse and zebra are also travelling at the same speed as you … what must you do to safely get out of this highly dangerous situation?

 

 

 

Get off the Merry-Go Round. You are drunk!

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Two dogs in a restaurant.

This is one of the funniest videos I have seen in a long time – you must watch it (for some reason YouTube starts this at minute 2, so you need to do a “rewind”).

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=EVwlMVYqMu4&vq=medium#t=125

 

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If Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were alive today, their infamous sketch, 'Who's on First?' might have turned out something like this:

COSTELLO CALLS TO BUY A COMPUTER FROM ABBOTT ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO: Thanks I'm setting up an office in my den and I'm thinking about buying a computer.

ABBOTT: Mac?

COSTELLO: No, the name's Lou.

ABBOTT: Your computer?

COSTELLO: I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.

ABBOTT: Mac?

COSTELLO: I told you, my name's Lou.

ABBOTT: What about Windows?

COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?

ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?

COSTELLO: I don't know. What will I see when I look at the windows?

ABBOTT: Wallpaper.

COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.

ABBOTT: Software for Windows?

COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals,

track expenses and run my business. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?

ABBOTT: I just did.

COSTELLO: You just did what?

ABBOTT: Recommend something.

COSTELLO: You recommended something?

ABBOTT: Yes.

COSTELLO: For my office?

ABBOTT: Yes.

COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!

ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Windows.

COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows! OK, let's just say I'm sitting

at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?

ABBOTT: Word.

COSTELLO: What word?

ABBOTT: Word in Office.

COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.

ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.

COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?

ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue 'W'.

COSTELLO: I'm going to click your blue 'W' if you don't start with some straight answers.

What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything I can track my money with?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: That's right. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?

ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.

COSTELLO: What's bundled with my computer?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?

ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.

COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?

ABBOTT: One copy.

COSTELLO: Isn't it illegal to copy money?

ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.

COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?

ABBOTT: Why not? THEY OWN IT!

(A few days later)

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off?

ABBOTT: Click on 'START'...

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One for South African rugby fans – the rest can ignore

World Cup Rugby : BAKKIES BOTHA

Bakkies Botha is so strong, he can tear a page out of facebook.

Bakkies Botha didn’t dial the wrong number — you answered the wrong phone.

Bakkies Botha has already been to Mars — that’s why there are no signs of life.

Bakkies Botha doesn’t flush the toilet, he scares the sh*t out of it

Bakkies Botha can strangle you with a cordless phone.

Death once had a near-Bakkies Botha experience.

Bakkies Botha can slam a revolving door.

Bakkies Botha doesn’t need a GPS — Bakkies Botha decides where he is.

The sheep on Bakkies Botha’s farm are the ones that give us steel wool.

Bakkies Botha will never have a heart attack. His heart isn’t nearly foolish enough to attack him.

Bakkies Botha can speak Braille.

When Bakkies Botha throws a boomerang it doesn’t dare come back.

Bakkies Botha can tweet from a pay phone.

When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, there were already 3 missed calls from Bakkies Botha.

The Vredefort dome was not created by a meteorite – it appeared after Bakkies Botha decided to put his foot down.

When Bakkies pours milk on his bowl of Rice Krispies, Snap, Crackle and Pop shut the f*ck up.

Bakkies Botha appeared in all six Star Wars movies – as The Force.

Bakkies Botha doesn’t f@rt – nothing escapes Bakkies Botha.

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TRUE GOLFER WILL UNDERSTAND THESE

Don’t buy a putter until you’ve had a chance to throw it.

Never try to keep more than 300 separate thoughts in your mind during your swing.

When your shot has to carry over a water hazard, you can either hit one more club or two more balls.

If you’re afraid a full shot might reach the green while the foursome ahead of you is still putting out, you have two options: you can immediately shank a lay-up or you can wait until the green is clear and top a ball halfway there..

The less skilled the player, the more likely he is to share his ideas about the golf swing.

No matter how bad you are playing, it is always possible to play worse.

The inevitable result of any golf lesson is the instant elimination of the one critical unconscious motion that allowed you to compensate for all of your many other errors

Everyone replaces his divot after a perfect approach shot.

A golf match is a test of your skill against your opponents’ luck.

It is surprisingly easy to hole a fifty foot putt . For a 10.

Counting on your opponent to inform you when he breaks a rule is like expecting him to make fun of his own haircut.

Nonchalant putts count the same as chalant putts

It’s not a gimme if you’re still 5 feet away.

The shortest distance between any two points on a golf course is a straight line that passes directly through the center of a very large tree.

You can hit a two acre fairway 10% of the time and a two inch branch 90% of the time.

If you really want to get better at golf, go back and take it up at a much earlier age.

Since bad shots come in groups of three, a fourth bad shot is actually the beginning of the next group of three.

When you look up, causing an awful shot, you will always look down again at exactly the moment when you ought to start watching the ball if you ever want to see it again.

Every time a golfer makes a birdie, he must subsequently make two triple bogeys to restore the fundamental equilibrium of the universe.

If you want to hit a 7 iron as far as Tiger Woods does, simply try to lay up just short of a water hazard.

To calculate the speed of a player’s downswing, multiply the speed of his back-swing by his handicap; I.e., back-swing 20 mph , handicap 15, downswing = 300 mph.

One of my personal favorites: There are two things you can learn by stopping your back-swing at the top and checking the position of your hands: how many hands you have, and which one is wearing the glove.

Hazards attract; fairways repel. Keep this in mind

A ball you can see in the rough from 50 yards away is not yours.

If there is a ball on the fringe and a ball in the bunker, your ball is in the bunker. If both balls are in the bunker, yours is in the footprint

It’s easier to get up at 6:00 AM to play golf than at 10:00 to mow the lawn

A good drive on the 18th hole has stopped many a golfer from giving up the game.

Golf is the perfect thing to do on Sunday because you always end up having to pray a lot.

A good golf partner is one who’s always slightly worse than you are….that’s why I get so many calls to play with friends

If there’s a storm rolling in, you’ll be having the game of your life.

Golf balls are like eggs. They’re white. They’re sold by the dozen. And you need to buy fresh ones each week.

It’s amazing how a golfer who never helps out around the house will replace his divots, repair his ball marks, and rake his sand traps.

If your opponent has trouble remembering whether he shot a six or a seven, he probably shot an eight (or worse).

It takes longer to learn to be a good golfer than it does to become a brain surgeon. On the other hand, you don’t get to ride around on a cart, drink beer, eat hot dogs and fart, if you are performing Brain Surgery !!!!

 

The Friday Smile … La sonrisa del viernes (020911)

Hey, hey, its Friday – you should start off with the song – or listen while you read…

The Friday Song

What has been going on over the last two weeks? Well, I have been in Madrid all that time which has been excellent as Summer begins to draw to a balmy close and I have almost had a routine: Up at 6am and work for an hour, then at 7am, a 8 to 10km run through the park, then home for a shower and breakfast with the gorgeous one on our terraza – “super bien”. Work from home for a while and then off to my new office (Utopic_US – more later) to carry on with “improving lives through better decisions” – at least when people let me! I can’t remember the last time I had a routine – interesting.

The new “office” is superb – as mentioned a few smiles back, it is a shared office space mainly with young (compared to me) entrepreneurs starting and running businesses. The majority are in communication, web design and art-related work; but there are many others as well such as a print broker, a container business and a film studio. So the ambience is one of excitement and energy. The building is a converted ex-textile factory n the centre of Madrid – paint pealing off the walls, massive blackboards, a gallery in the basement for art works (currently a Banksy display) and at the moment, somewhat bizarrely an indoor football field. The fridge is full of Heineken and Red Bull – there are no other options); and there are a mixture of languages spoken. Is this the place for one of the top strategy consultancies in the world? You bet your life it is – especially one that has the  objective of being 80% virtual within 12 months.Utopicus

Genesis continues and although it has been a slower Summer than I would have liked, it has allowed me to continue putting the building blocks in place for the future. And, it is great to wake up every day with excitement and enthusiasm. There are many companies with mission statements that are forgotten or are only paid lip service, but I have a deep passion for “improving lives through better decisions” and so I somewhat arrogantly believe I am currently, and even more so in the future, making a positive difference in the world!

Other things happening – well, I cannot go without mentioning Marc’s birthday yesterday – he turned 14. It is always a little sad when I can not be with the boys on their birthdays, but I take heart in that both my boys are doing well,  Wendy is providing a good home for them and they are both thriving at school and socially. Plus, late last year and in the first 4 months of this year I got to see them monthly while running projects in SA, so it is not too bad – but definitely almost time for the next trip! Any clients in SA looking for support??

The G Vivi and I saw a good movie the other day: Spielbergs latest “Super 8” – well worth seeing whether you are 13, 23 or 83! The theme may lack a little originality, but the special effects and the storyline is great. Good fun all round.

Other stuff? I am finding more and more interesting things on the web, and those of you who are friends of mine on Facebook will pick them up as I tend to share them. One particular web-site I have come across is Good Is (www.goood.is ) which is full of (unsurprisingly) good articles. Generally positive, optimistic and entertaining.

Oh well, onto the smiles – see below. Contributions from all across the world as usual.

So, from me – have a magnificent weekend and a superb week that follows.
Abrazos a todos,
Simon

Instead of a quote, you get a whole cheesy (but nonetheless motivating) video this week.

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My favourite joke of the week…

The seven dwarfs go to the Vatican , and because they are the seven dwarfs, they are immediately ushered in to see the Pope.
Grumpy leads the pack.
‘Grumpy, my son,’ says the Pope, ‘What can I do for you?’
Grumpy asks, ‘Excuse me your Excellency, but are there any dwarf nuns in Rome ?’
The Pope wrinkles his brow at the odd question, thinks for a moment and answers, ‘No, Grumpy, there are no dwarf nuns in Rome .’
In the background, a few of the dwarfs start giggling.
Grumpy turns around and glares, silencing them.
Grumpy turns back, ‘Your Worship, are there any dwarf nuns in all of Europe ?’
The Pope, puzzled now, again thinks for a moment and then answers, ‘No, Grumpy, there are no dwarf nuns in Europe ..
‘This time, all of the other dwarfs burst into laughter.
Once again, Grumpy turns around and silences them with an angry glare.
Grumpy turns back and says, ‘Mr.. Pope! Are there ANY dwarf nuns anywhere in the world?’
The Pope, really confused by the questions says, ‘I’m sorry, my son, there are no dwarf nuns anywhere in the world.’

The other dwarfs collapse into a heap, rolling and laughing, pounding the floor, tears rolling down their cheeks, as they begin chanting……

‘Grumpy shagg€d a penguin!’
‘Grumpy shagg€d a penguin!’

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Interesting facts!

Q: Why do men’s clothes have buttons on the right while women’s clothes have buttons on the left?
A: When buttons were invented, they were very expensive and worn primarily by the rich. Since most people are right-handed, it is easier to push buttons on the right through holes on the left. Because wealthy women were dressed by maids, dressmakers put the buttons on the maid’s right! And that’s where women’s buttons have remained since.Q: Why do ships and aircraft use ‘mayday’ as their call for help?
A: This comes from the French word m’aidez -meaning ‘help me’ — and is pronounced, approximately, ‘mayday.’Q: Why are zero scores in tennis called ‘love’?
A: In France , where tennis became popular, round zero on the scoreboard looked like an egg and was called ‘l’oeuf,’ which is French for ‘egg.’ When tennis was introduced in the US , Americans (mis)pronounced it ‘love.’Q. Why do X’s at the end of a letter signify kisses?
A: In the Middle Ages, when many people were unable to read or write, documents were often signed using an X. Kissing the X represented an oath to fulfill obligations specified in the document. The X and the kiss eventually became synonymous.Q: Why is shifting responsibility to someone else called ‘passing the buck’?
A: In card games, it was once customary to pass an item, called a buck, from player to player to indicate whose turn it was to deal. If a player did not wish to assume the responsibility of dealing,he would ‘pass the buck’ to the next player.Q: Why do people clink their glasses before drinking a toast?
A: It used to be common for someone to try to kill an enemy by offering him a poisoned drink. To prove to a guest that a drink was safe, it became customary for a guest to pour a small amount of his drink into the glass of the host. Both men would drink it simultaneously. When a guest trusted his host, he would only touch or clink the host’s glass with his own.Q: Why are people in the public eye said to be ‘in the limelight’?
A:Invented in 1825,limelight was used in lighthouses and theatres by burning a cylinder of lime which produced a brilliant light. In the theatre,a performer ‘in the limelight’ was the centre of attention.Q: Why is someone who is feeling great ‘on cloud nine’?
A: Types of clouds are numbered according to the altitudes they attain, with nine being the highest cloud If someone is said to be on cloud nine, that person is floating well above worldly cares.Q: In golf, where did the term ‘Caddie’ come from?
A. When Mary Queen of Scots went to France as a young girl,Louis, King of France , learned that she loved the Scots game ‘golf.’ So he had the first course outside of Scotland built for her enjoyment. To make sure she was properly chaperoned (and guarded) while she played, Louis hired cadets from a military school to accompany her. Mary liked this a lot and when returned to Scotland (not a very good idea in the long run), she took the practice with her. In French, the word cadet is pronounced ‘ca-day’ and the Scots changed it into ‘caddie.Q: Why are many coin banks shaped like pigs?
A: Long ago, dishes and cookware in Europe were made of a dense orange clay called ‘pygg’. When people saved coins in jars made of this clay, the jars became known as ‘pygg banks.’ When an English potter misunderstood the word, he made a container that resembled a pig. And it caught on._______________________________________________________

What does The Friday Smile really look like

OK. This is not a joke per se, but I came a cross a really cool web-site called wordle.net where you can dump a web page or a pasted set of words and it produces a “wordle” – a picture of all the words, with the most frequent being larger. All free – have a go. It may be fun to put in a consultant report and spot the jargon – how often do yu think you would see the words “issue” and “process”?
Friday Smile La Sonrisa de viernes

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A Wee Scottish Tale

A golfer is cupping his hand to scoop water from a Highland burn on the St Andrews course.

A groundskeeper shouts: ‘Dinnae drink tha waater! Et’s foo ae coo’s shite an pish!’

The golfer replies: ‘My Good fellow, I’m from England . Could you repeat that for me, in English, please!?’

The keeper replies: ‘I said, use two hands – you’ll spill less that way!’

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Best from the Edinburgh Festival

1) Nick Helm: “I needed a password eight characters long so I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.”

2) Tim Vine: “Crime in multi-storey car parks. That is wrong on so many different levels.”

3) Hannibal Buress: “People say ‘I’m taking it one day at a time’. You know what? So is everybody. That’s how time works.”

4) Tim Key: “Drive-Thru McDonalds was more expensive than I thought… once you’ve hired the car…”

5) Matt Kirshen: “I was playing chess with my friend and he said, ‘Let’s make this interesting’. So we stopped playing chess.”

6) Sarah Millican: “My mother told me, you don’t have to put anything in your mouth you don’t want to. Then she made me eat broccoli, which felt like double standards.”

7) Alan Sharp: “I was in a band which we called The Prevention, because we hoped people would say we were better than The Cure.”

8) Mark Watson: “Someone asked me recently – what would I rather give up, food or s€x. Neither! I’m not falling for that one again, wife.”

9) Andrew Lawrence: “I admire these phone hackers. I think they have a lot of patience. I can’t even be bothered to check my OWN voicemails.”

10) DeAnne Smith: “My friend died doing what he loved … Heroin.”

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21st August 2011
The Friday Smile  .  La sonrisa del viernes 

Hola amigos y amigas,

Two quick weeks since the last Smile – one in Madrid and the other in London. We are roasting our way through a hot August – in fact I am writing this on our terraza at about 19h30 where the temperature has plummeted to about 35º. I suppose you could call it a Hot August Night. OK – you probably have to be old enough to remember Neil Diamond to smile at that … Cracklin’ Rosie, Holly Holy, etc. Actually, he had another Hot August Night in New York in 2009 – have a look at this – it will definitely leave you smiling – and maybe even singing (Mandy, Jane, Alan, James, Kevin, Wes, Brian, Chris … you know who you are!). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZGFHhNkwCE&feature=related Given he was 68 when he did the 2009 concert, he is not in bad shape.

And cause I am feeling nostalgic after that, here is the original Cherry, Cherry from the 1972 concert http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIeY4S1h79Q&feature=related

Whoops, I guess I digressed a bit. Anyway, the two weeks have been great – one of the momentous dates was my eldest son, Devon, turning 17 on the 11th August. It feels impossible that he could already be a young adult! Anyway, I am immensely proud of him and who he is – a very special human being in so many ways (OK Marc, your turn is coming next month!!).

We had a guest from Korea (Hong Joo) staying with us for a week which was great. Vivi (the gorgeous one) took a week off and so as I slogged off to work everyday, leaving them tanning on the terraza or zipping off the shops … but it was super to share our lives a bit and chat about different lifestyles and cultures.

I went to the UK on Monday with a list from Vivi: new plasma TV, golden Nike´s, Pepe jeans etc only to find that the affirmative shopping (as it was once called in SA) craze had ended and the youth actually had to use their dole money to BUY things – whatever next? Before you know it, they will be expected to pay for their own housing and find jobs!

Seriously it was really sad to see the riots in the UK and strange to wonder (as a South African) if it was safe to be travelling across. In contrast we had the youth week in Madrid this week (just ended today) where the Pope arrived for 4 days and we had (I think) millions of pilgrims arriving to join in the celebrations – the majority below the age of 20. (See picture of the crowd on the last night – incredible). Pope visitThere were a number of complaints about the closure of the City for about 6 days and the use of Government funds to sponsor the event (as there will always be) – but ignoring that, for me it was fantastic to see groups of youths celebrating their religion and faith in an exuberant, but non-harmful way. Although as a Christian it was particularly special, even if they had been from some other religion, I would have still felt good about the fact that this generation still has a core of people with strong morals and beliefs.  It did start some interesting conversations between Vivi and I about life, religion, secular states, etc – but with no serious arguments arising.

Before I ramble on too much – on to the smiles…..

Tim, James, Andy and Mark (Johannesburg and the UK) the main contributors

Have a great week. Abrazos a todos.

Simon.

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain!

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Probably seen it before, but is suddenly even more appropriate ….

London (Stratford) will be hosting the Olympic Games in 2012

You may not know is that many of the famous events, which go to make up this spectacular event, are to be especially altered for 2012. A copy of these changes has been leaked, and is reproduced below:

OPENING CEREMONY
The flame will be ignited by a petrol bomb thrown by a native of the area in the traditional dress of balaclava and shell suit. The flame will be contained in a large overturned police van situated on the roof of the stadium.

THE EVENTS
In previous Olympic Games, East London’s competitors have not been particularly successful. In order to redress the balance, some of the events have been altered slightly to the advantage of local athletes.

100 METRES SPRINT
Competitors will have to hold a DVD player and microwave oven (one in each arm) and on the sound of the starting pistol, a police dog will be released from a cage 10 yards behind the athletes.

110 METRES HURDLES
As above but with added obstacles (i.e. car bonnets, hedges, garden fences, walls etc)

HAMMER
Competitors in this event may choose the type of hammer they wish to use (claw, sledge etc) the winner will be the one who can cause the most physical damage within three attempts.

FENCING
Entrants will be asked to dispose of as many stolen goods as possible in 5 minutes.

SHOOTING
A strong challenge is expected from local men in this event. The first target will be a moving police van. In the second round, competitors will aim at a post office clerk, bank teller or Securicor-style wages deliveryman.
The traditional .22 rifle has been replaced in this event by a choice of either a Browning automatic handgun or sawn-off 12-bore shotgun.

BOXING
Entry to the boxing will be restricted to husband and wife teams, and will take place on a Friday night. The husband will be given 15 pints of lager while the wife will be told not to make him any tea when he gets home.
The bout will then commence.

CYCLING TIME TRIALS
Competitors will be asked to break into the University bike shed and take an expensive mountain bike owned by some mummy’s boy on his first trip away from home. All against the clock.

CYCLING PURSUIT
As above, but the bike will be owned by a visiting member of the Australian rugby team, who will witness the theft.

MODERN PENTATHLON
Amended to include mugging, breaking and entering, flashing, joyriding and arson.

SWIMMING EVENTS
All waterways are currently being tested for toxicity levels, once one is found that can support human life, swimming events will be organised, please note that the Synchronised Swimming event for this year will comprise of dropping acid and watching all the funky ripples on the pool, the specific musical support to this event
will be provided by “The Verve.”

THE MARATHON
A safe route has yet to be decided.

MEN’S 50KM WALK
Unfortunately this will have to be cancelled as the police cannot guarantee the safety of anyone walking the streets of East London, especially anyone that appears to be… mincing

THE CLOSING CEREMONY
Entertainment will include formation rave dancing by members of the Stratford Health in the Community anti-drug campaigners, synchronised rock throwing, and music by the Ilford community choir. The flame will be extinguished by police riot water cannon following the inevitable pitch invasion by confused West Ham organised hooliganism club. The stadium itself will then be boarded up before the local athletes break into it and remove all the copper piping and the central heating boiler

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My wife and I went to the Orange County agricultural show and one of the first exhibits we stopped at was the breeding bulls.. We went up to the first pen and there was a sign attached that said,
‘ THIS BULL MATED 50 TIMES LAST YEAR ‘

My wife playfully nudged me in the ribs …..Smiled and said, ‘He mated 50 times last year, that’s almost once a week.’

We walked to the second pen which had a sign attached that said,
”THIS BULL MATED 150 TIMES LAST YEAR’

My wife gave me a healthy jab and said,

‘WOW~~That’s more than twice! a week ! ……….You could learn a lot from him.’

We walked to the third pen and it had a sign attached that said,
in capital letters,
‘THIS BULL MATED 365 TIMES LAST YEAR’

My wife was so excited that her elbow nearly broke my ribs, and said,
‘That’s once a day ..You could REALLY learn something from this one.’

I looked at her and said,
‘Go over and ask him if it was with the same cow.’
My condition has been upgraded from critical  to stable and I should eventually make a full recovery

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Braai etiquette.

Really for South Africans (or would-be barbecuer’s – especially the English/Australian gas-ers). Awful acting, but some sensible advice.

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On their wedding night, the young bride
Approached her new husband and asked for
$20.00 for their first s€xual encounter.
In his highly a roused state, her husband readily
agreed.

This scenario was repeated each time they made
Love, for more than 30 years, with him thinking
that it was a cute way for her to afford new clothes
and other incidentals that she needed.

Arriving home around noon one day, she was surprised
to find her husband in a very drunken state.
During the next few minutes, he explained that
his employer was going through a process of corporate
downsizing, and he had been let go.
It was unlikely that, at the age of 59, he’d be able
to find another position that paid anywhere near what
he’d been earning, and therefore, they were financially ruined.

Calmly, his wife handed him a bank book which
showed more than thirty years of steady deposits
and interest totaling nearly $1 million.
Then she showed him certificates of deposits issued
by the bank which were worth over $2 million,
and informed him that they were one of the
largest depositors in the bank.

She explained that for the more than three decades
she had ‘charged’ him for s€x, these holdings had
multiplied and these were the results of her savings
and investments.

Faced with evidence of cash and investments worth
over $3 Million, her husband was so astounded he could
barely speak, but finally he found his voice and blurted out,
‘If I’d had any idea what you were doing, I would have given you all my business!’

And that’s when she shot him.

You know, sometimes, men just don’t know when to keep their mouths shut.

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Obama  goes to a primary school to talk to the kids to get a little PR. After his talk he offers question time. One little boy puts up  his hand and Obama asks him his name.

” Stanley ,” responds  the little boy.

“And what is your question, Stanley ?”

“I  have 4 questions:

First, why did the USA Bomb Libya without the  support of Congress?

Second, why are you President when John McCain  got more votes?

Third, whatever happened to Osama Bin  Laden?”

Fourth, why are we so worried about gay-marriage when 1/2 of  all Americans don’t have health insurance?

Just then, the bell  rings for recess. Obama informs the kiddies that they will continue  after recess.

When they resume Obama says, “OK, where were we?  Oh, that ‘s right question time. Who has a question?”

Another  little boy puts up his hand. Obama points him out and asks him his name.

“Steve,” he responds.

“And what is your question,  Steve?”

Actually, I have 6 questions.

First, why did the  USA Bomb Libya without the support of Congress?

Second, why are you  President when John McCain got more votes?

Third, whatever happened  to Osama Bin Laden?

Fourth, why are we so worried about gay marriage  when 1/2 of all  Americans don’t have health insurance?

Fifth, why  did the recess bell go off 20 minutes early?

And sixth, what the f…  happened to  Stanley?”

5 August 2011

The Friday Smile (050811)

Wheeew!! The longest period without a Smile in 3 years I think. Sadly, I need to admit that work got in the way. 3 weeks of 7 day weeks, 15+ hour days with time for the occasional run and not much else. But, I aso have to confess that it was fun – the intensity and pressure mixed with delivering some really high quality output that surprised even me (although thanks to Doug and Rickey for a big chunk of that). Fortunately it surprised (pleasantly) the client too – so hopefully I will be back in London for some follow-up before too long!

It was also good to have a bit of a break from the Summer heat of Madrid, although we had at least 1,5 weeks of good weather after 1,5 weeks of intermittent rain showers between intermittent drizzle! Twice I came back from a run having been caught in one of the downpours looking like a drowned rat (as Andy took great delight in telling me). On the other hand, jogging alongside the rivers and canals around Weybridge on the good days was absolutely incredible. It felt like a scene out of “Howard’s End” or one of those movies where everyone says “beautiful scenery” which is a euphemism for boring as all hell (at least for the guys).

It had been a while since I had had time to catch up with Andy, Maria and “little” Stephie (my always cheerful, sometime rude, rock concert aficionado, occasional uni student and always hungry niece). The Weybridge Giffords were as kind and welcoming as ever and put up with a dodgy lodger who seemed to be working all hours of the day and night, only to make an occasional appearance to eat and drink their beers and wine. Seriously, thanks to both of them – they are truly amazing and I am blessed to have them as family (yes, even you Stephie!!!). PS I also got a “how to make pizza lesson from my little brother and tried it out on Friday – not bad!Pizza

Working with Doug Shep. again was also a pleasure – a true professional in every way. How he balances all his projects, sports, hobbies and family is a lesson in effectiveness to all of us! So all in all a really good trip – but I missed the gorgeous one and my home and so it is great to be back now., even if the temperature is in the mid 30’s.

Genesis moves on with plenty of action in all areas – including the moving to our new Spanish “office” in UtopicUS.  WTF?

“Utopic_US is a factory of creative transformation; a company of creation, open to multidisciplinary professionals committed to realising their dreams . Rather than being just a physical space, Utopic_US is a space of ideas, of understanding work, personal relations and entrepreneurial organisations.

From the midst of an era of transformation and cultural melting; in a society that is changing traditional business models and ways of communication; in a situation in which a strong need emerges within people to connect to others; to be active; to collaborate; to participate; to feel part of something; to share a common belief; to create something together; where human values always predominate, arises Utopic_US; a space of social transformation a project from and for the people.”

 It is an old factory building in the centre of Madrid converted into a mixture of office space, galleries, open areas .. hard to describe as there is always something different going on – it is my image of what I think the Google office space is all about. It is really aimed at the more creative/artistic/digital space but I reckon as Genesis will eventually be the disruptive model that changes strategy consulting forever (hey – you have to have decent-sized dreams), maybe it is the place to be. But if the next time you see me I have dug out my old ear-ring and have a tattoo, then you will realise something has gone horribly wrong.

Books to recommend?  If you are looking for a creativity manual, have a look at Thinkertoys by Michael Michalko – it is phenomenal and probably as useful in your personal life as it is for business. And if you are interested in how the mind works and how the “right-brain” is increasing in importance, try Dan Pink’s A whole new mind”.

OK, I must get this finished as we have a Korean friend arriving for a  week and she is kicking me out of my “home office” so I need to clear up a bit. But first the smiles….

Main contributors: James, Tim, and Maria.

Abrazos a todos and have a great week,

Simon

 

 Each choice we make causes a ripple effect in our lives. When things happen to us, it is the reaction we choose that can create the difference between the sorrows of our past and the joy in our future.

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Thoughts Of A Wandering Mind

  •  I planted some bird seed. A bird came up. Now I don’t know what to feed i
  • I had amnesia once—or twice
  • I went to San Francisco. I found someone’s heart. Now what?
  • Protons have mass? I didn’t even know they were Catholic.
  • All I ask is a chance to prove that money can’t make me happy
  • If the world were a logical place, men would be the ones who ride horses sidesaddle.
  • What is a “free” gift? Aren’t all gifts free?
  • They told me I was gullible and I believed them.
  • Teach a child to be polite and courteous in the home and, when he grows up, he’ll never be able to merge his car onto the freeway.
  • Experience is the thing you have left when everything else is gone.
  • One nice thing about egotists: they don’t talk about other people.My weight is perfect for my height–which varies.
  • How can there be self-help “groups”?
  •  If swimming is so good for your figure, how do you explain whales?
  • Show me a man with both feet firmly on the ground, and I’ll show you a man who can’t get his pants off
  • Is it me –or do buffalo wings taste like chicken?
________________________________________________________________

A mate of mine recently admitted to being addicted to brake fluid.
When I quizzed him on it he reckoned he could stop any time….

I went to the cemetery yesterday to lay some flowers on a grave. AsI was standing there I noticed 4 grave diggers walking about with a coffin, 3 hours later and they’re still walking about with it.
I thought to myself,they’ve lost the plot!!

I was at a cash point yesterday when a little old lady asked if I could check her balance, so I pushed her over.

A new Middle East crisis erupted last night as Dubai Television was refused permission to broadcast ‘The Flintstones’. A spokesman for the channel said. “A claim was made that people in Dubai would not understand the humour, but we know for a fact that people in Abu Dhabi Do.”

My daughter asked me for a pet spider for her birthday, so I went to our local pet shop and they were £70!!! B******s to this, I thought, I can get one cheaper off the web.

Statistically, 6 out of 7 dwarves are not happy.

Went around to a friend’s house today. His wife was sat there with their new-born baby. She asked if I’d like to wind it. I thought that was a bit harsh so I gave it a dead leg instead..

I start a new job in Seoul next week. I thought it was a good Korea move.

I was driving this morning when I saw an RAC van parked up. The driver was sobbing uncontrollably and looked very miserable. I thought to myself ‘that guy’s heading for a breakdown.’

On holiday recently in Spain I saw a sign that said ‘English speaking Doctor’ – I thought, ‘What a good idea, why don’t we have them in our country?’

________________________________________________________________

I saw some incredible photos taken by an electron microscope – see link. Warning you may never feel clean again!

http://melodymaker.posterous.com/amazing-electron-microscope-shots

_______________________________________________________________________________

REUTERS – GREECE TO HALT PRODUCTION OF TZATZIKI AND TARAMOSALATA

Does this drastically raise the risk of a double dip recession?

_______________________________________________________________

This may keep you going for a while. Click on the link then try and put your mouse arrow on the guy’s nose!

http://www.selfcontrolfreak.com/slaan.html

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And finally, saving the best for last, a typical diary (the Afrikaans at the end says “and you wonder why we like the weekends” – or something like that!)

Week-Agenda

 

1st July 2011

The Friday Smile … La sonrisa del viernes (010711)

Hola amigos y amigas,

I skipped last weeks smile and it was a toss up between la sonrisa del viernes and la siestasiestadel viernes (I have been working since 6 this morning) – but luckily “la sonrisa” won as I have so much good stuff to chat about and so many great smiles to share that I put the siesta aside for the moment.

I have had a lot on the go in the last few weeks including some work, lots of marketing (a euphemism for grovelling for work), plenty of research and, as always, lots of fun! But the highlight has got to have been attending the TEDx conference in Madrid last Saturday. I assume you all know about TED (if you do not, then do yourself a favour and go to www.TED.com and click on almost any of the presentations, or if you want an example try http://www.ted.com/talks/dave_debronkart_meet_e_patient_dave.html – a presentation made by just a normal guy who took some initiative in curing his own cancer).

TEDx

Anyway, I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the Madrid TEDx and what a day! We listened to about 10 people talking about the great stuff they are doing, explaining and demonstrating their work with immense passion, putting their dreams and ambitions on the line in front of strangers – basically demonstrating that anything is possible if we as individuals believe and act. And these generally are not necessarily people born with great gifts or talents; or people who have been successful all their lives – mostly to the contrary – they tend to be people who believe in themselves and their cause or product and keep on pushing – often against the odds. Furthermore, they are not people who are there to earn massive sums of money (although some do coincidentally) but rather have a driving need to help people or a specific group of people. Attending the conference was like being submerged in an 8 hour bath of inspiration. Truly amazing – if you ever get the chance to attend a TED – do not even hesitate! There were also a few music shows interspersed and the other attendees were quite a special group too.

On the subject of “ordinary people”, sadly my cousin Michael passed away a few weeks ago after a long fight with cancer. We had not been particularly close as I left England and his town long ago and there were a good few years age gap between us – at least it felt that way when I was 13 and he was about 20. He had been a dedicated schoolteacher for all his life. When he died, they started a Facebook RIP page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/RIP-Mr-Mike-Matthews/166552340071435 ) which is absolutely incredible – I admit to tears pouring freely when I read the messages. The love, trust and respect that he had generated through class after class of pupils was astounding, as were the many other responsibilities he had taken up in his school, sports and other community activity. As the site says – he was, and will remain, a legend! And it reminded me forcefully how we can all make a difference be it at a global level or at a local level. And if we do not strive to do that – what are we really trying to accomplish here? Hamble kahle Mike, go in peace.

Plenty of other things on the go although Summer has officially started in Madrid and the reflux (is that the opposite of influx 🙂 of people leaving for the coast starts this afternoon. Yesterday (the ever g) Vivi, (charismatic) Claire and (simple) Simon went to the opening of a Banksy exhibition in a very cool studio called Utopicus. It is going to be the new base for Genesis in Madrid – but more about that after the move – but believe me it is special.  Lots of early morning runs in the park while it is still cool and even more cold beers in the terrazas in the hot evenings!

I am devouring books at the moment – but highly recommend “The Social Animal” by David Brooks that I mentioned in the last Smile – all about how our subconscious controls (or trys to control) us. Almost finished another book (a gift from the the ravishing Rhonda – thanks) called “The Decision Book” by Krogerus and Tschappler depicting the 50 best decision-making models (essential reading for all would-be strategists). Finally, I have just started what is turning out to be the best book on creativity (and how to do it) that I have ever read called “Thinkertoys” by Michael Michalko. Go get it now!

Beyond that, life goes on. Some interesting economic and political issues brewing here in Europe, especially Spain and Greece. And if change signifies opportunity – then we have certainly been blessed with some incredible opportunities! Genesis moves on and continues to develop – wait for The 2nd Habit (part of the series: the 7 habits of highly effective decision makers) due next week. (Go to the web-site www.genesis-esp.com and subscribe so you get informed as soon as it is publicised).
And we have just launched a new training programme (by popular demand) which is aimed at decision-making for youths where we are working in conjunction with a US organisation who specialise in this. We decided that it fits our mission of “improving lives through better decisions” and given the importance of many of the decisions facing teenagers (be they personal or career), it will be providing a life-skill that will directly impact their lives. I welcome any comments or suggestions to help us launch and develop the programme any further.

OK, I promise – no more blathering. I have a bunch of stories and jokes mainly contributed by James and Tim in Johannesburg, but Mark in London and Yoanna in Madrid also contributing.

From me, have a fantastic week and enjoy the Summer /Winter whatever continent you are in. Abrazos a todos,

Simon.

“ In every life we have some trouble,
but when you worry you make it double.
Don’t worry. Be happy. ”

Bobby McFerrin (1950 – )

Onto the smiles…..

Puns for high IQ’s

A man’s home is his castle, in a manor of speaking.
Dijon vu – the same mustard as before.
Practice safe eating – always use condiments.
Shotgun wedding – A case of wife or death.
A man needs a mistress just to break the monogamy.
A hangover is the wrath of grapes.
Dancing cheek-to-cheek is really a form of floor play.
Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?
Condoms should be used on every conceivable occasion.
Reading while sunbathing makes you well red.
When two egotists meet, it’s an I for an I.
A bicycle can’t stand on its own because it is two tired.
What’s the definition of a will? (It’s a dead give away.)
A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.
If you don’t pay your exorcist, you get repossessed.
With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.
The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.
You feel stuck with your debt if you can’t budge it.
Local Area Network in Australia – the LAN down under.
Every calendar’s days are numbered.
A lot of money is tainted – It taint yours and it taint mine.
A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.
He had a photographic memory that was never developed.
Once you’ve seen one shopping center, you’ve seen a mall.
Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead-to-know basis..
Santa’s helpers are subordinate clauses.
Acupuncture is a jab well done.

Some non-PC jokes (because I can)!

 

Just had a bloke at the door asking if I wanted to buy raffle tickets for orphans. I told him with my luck I’d probably win one.

Kate Middleton says to the Queen, “What’s the secret to a successful marriage?” Queen replies “Wear a seatbelt and don’t p1ss me off.”

The thing I love most about this hot weather is the short skirts and low cut tops. Although they do make me look a bit gay.

Following the tragic death of the Human Cannonball at the Kent Show, a spokesman said “We’ll struggle to get another man of the same calibre.”

Question – are there too many immigrants in Britain? 17% said yes; 11% said No; 72% said “I am not understanding the question please.”

What do Tottenham Hotspur and Heather Mills have in common? The second leg is just for show

Just £3 will buy water and food for a family in Africa. But don’t let your heart rule your head. Morrisons are doing 4 Stella for £2-99.

The cost of living has now got so bad that my wife is having s€x with me because she can’t afford batteries!

Paddy bursts into the Benefits office. I’ve been ringing 08001730 for 2 bloody days. Why don’t you answer the bloody phone. Girl replies, those are our opening times sir.

Last night I reached for my liquid V1agra and accidentally swigged from a bottle of Tippex. I woke up this morning with a huge correction.

Some Japanese tourists just asked me to take a picture of them. When I said “Wave” they legged it!

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Old wives tale

After being married for thirty years….a wife asked her husband to describe her.
He looked at her slowly…then said,
“You’re A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K.”
She asks….. “What does that mean?”

He said, “Adorable, Beautiful, Cute, Delightful, Elegant, Foxy, Gorgeous, Hot.

 

She smiled happily and said….”Oh, that’s so lovely….. What about I, J, K?”
He said, “I’m Just Kidding!”

His eye is still swollen….but it will get better….

Why God invented men0pause

Through some miracle of nature, a women who had just turned 65 gave birth to a baby.

On returning home, all her friends rushed to visit to see the new child.

“Where is she? We want to see her” they exclaimed.

“I am afraid you will have to wait a bit. Wait until she starts crying”

The friends were a little surprised but waited patiently, until 20 minutes later they said: “Come on, we have other things to do. Lets see her now”.

The mother replied. “Sorry, not until she starts crying.”

After another 10 minutes. A friend asked to see the baby again and received the same response. Exasperated the friend said: “what is going on? Why do we have to wait until the child is crying before we can see her?”

The 65 year old mother finally explained: “Because I forgot where I left her.”

That’s why God created men0pause!

____________________________________________________________________

And some cool art – where the artists have worked with web-designers to create pictures with a degree of life in them. See the link below.

http://iwdrm.tumblr.com/

 

18 June

Hola amigos y amigas,

Sometimes two weeks can just fly by – and for no obvious reason. Sure I have been a little busy and so starting early and finishing late does not leave much surrounding time to get up to other things. But I suspect we all have those moments when we think: “Wow, where did the time go”. Actually, sitting down and writing the Smile is quite good for me because it makes me think about  where it really went to!

Looking back over my agenda I can begin to work it out. The week before last I was giving lectures at the Business School which takes some time to prepare and is really fun to deliver – but tends to leave me a little knocked out the day after. Combined with that a range of meetings with people like the Spanish Ambassador to SA, a visiting social psychology professor (Joachim Krueger) talking about trust in decisions, another professor from Insead discussing her research into women in the workplace (and decision making) and yet another bunch of Profs where we discussed our forthcoming programme for a multinational which is aimed at women in leadership. I am almost becoming an academic – maybe I should dust off that PhD thesis topic again.

But on top of that I have been working harder at integration into the Madrid business sphere and feel like some sort of cocktail-slut attending lots of networking meetings with groups like The European Chamber of Commerce and a few other less-elite events (eg guiri (slang term for foreigner) professional network in Spain) too. Fun, but amazing how many euphemisms I have heard for “unemployed” recently!

(The g)V and I are doing the Madrid early Summer thing: evening drinks with tapas in the terrazas of Madrid, walks through the park, etc. A great life – this is such a magical city. We went to a really fun concert last weekend in Vallecas (the slightly dodgy, alternative suburb of Madrid – where the only somewhat-dodgy charismatic-Claire lives) to see an eclectic mixture of big bands, jazz, rap (mixed with big band!) etc starting at about 21h00 and ending ???(we left at 02h00 and it was still going strong). What made it even more “different” was that the convert was held in a Catholic Church that is apparently often used as a music venue. So pews pushed aside, temporary bar set-up, crucifixes squashed into the corner … I kid you not. As I said: “alternative”!  Together with friends (non-dodgy Monica; possibly-dodgy Maria and Ramon) we boogied and drank the night away; eventually catching one of the Madrid night-buses home (which contained some VERY dodgy characters – some going home and others leaving to start their night out at 2am!).

Books? Thanks to Nicky B, I have just started reading “The Social Animal” by David Brooks. All about the unconscious mind and its impact on our lives. It happens to be directly related to my area of expertise/interest – but it is relevant for everyone. Even after having read one third, I must recommend it – especially parents. It really is phenomenal – and written in an extremely accessible way. I will let you know in the next Smile if the next 2/3 live up to the first 1/3.

OK, below we have the smile (thanks Tim in Josie, James in Josie, David in Madrid, another David in London and Rob in Copenhagen),  so for now, from me: Have a great week and happy fathers day to my Dad and all the other Dads in SA.

Abrazos a todos.
Simon
PS Anyone interested, there is a brand new all-singing, all-dancing Genesis web page – have a look and give me your comments. Click here: GenesisMC

But first, a famous quote of mine…..
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others”.

 

 

The Smile

A few puns, some new, some old, all pretty good …

The fattest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much  pi.

I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian .

She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.

No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be  stationery.

A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for  littering.

A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: ‘Keep off the Grass.’

The midget fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran

In a democracy it’s your vote that counts. In feudalism it’s your count that votes.

A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, ‘I’m sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.’

Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, ‘I’ve lost my electron.’ The other says ‘Are you sure?’ The first replies, ‘Yes, I’m positive.’

Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.

Old guys can pick up young chicks. How?

I met a girl in the park the other evening.

There was an instant spark between us and she immediately dropped to her knees and fell on her back on the grass at my feet.

As we lay making love, I thought “These taser guns are well worth the money.”

European debt crisis and other recession stories

Whats the difference between a Greek businessman and a Zimbabwean?

The way things are going, in a few weeks, nothing!

______________________________________________________________

Back in 2008, Henry Paulson was out jogging without his guards.

All of a sudden a man with a ski mask jumped out from behind
some bushes with a gun.

The masked man said “Give me all your money!”

Unwilling to do so, Paulson said, “You can’t do this, I’m the US Federal treasury secretary!”

The man then replied,… “Oh, never mind then. Give me MY money!”

_____________________________________________________________

The economy is so bad in Italy, the Mafia is laying off judges.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Nobel Prize in Economics: The Nobel 2009 goes to Ms Jones for keeping her savings at home

__________________________________________________________________

I went to buy a toaster and it came with a free bank.

___________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

4 June

It has been a different few weeks (have I ever really had a routine?) .. working like a dog (Hard Days Night, etc) but at least based in Madrid for a while which is fantastic (while it lasts). And for once I was able to watch news of the Icelandic volcano and weather -based flight delays with mild curiosity only. Summer is sneaking in between a few un-seasonal rainstorms and we have already had our first BBQ (braaivleis) on the terrace!

I think my eyes are going a little square though as it has been a period of intense work on the computer – which includes having had my old net-book crash and so being forced (quite happily) to getting a new, all-singing, all dancing Sanyo Vaio. (I believe the  AppleMac  is really aimed at clothes designers, air stewards and the like and that real business people have to use a proper machine). In the process of the net-book crashing, I learnt more about viruses, registries and back-ups then I could ever have wished to know.

In addition, I am changing my host service provider and moving to a Linux-based blog (or is that Linus?) – WTF – or as I have been saying for the last few weeks WTFWTFWTFWTFWFWTF every time I received a new message from some other geek requesting that I debug my FTP with an http-security code or reinstate my installertron cpanel with the predoos-boot start-up magnifier. WTF. Maybe I need to stop being so cheap and get a professional t help me? Naaaah. WTF. I will get it right by myself!

The European economy is taking a really interesting turn – although for Spain “interesting” is a euphemism for “challenging”. High unemployment, popular unrest, a biting recession – but at the same time, as always, opportunities abound. It is a matter of keeping an open, and positive, mind-set – which I think I get right most of the time. Although the only way some of my colleagues are going to get an open-mindset is with an axe!

I am cheating a bit as I am writing this on a Saturday evening – so can mention the movie we saw last night (“sin identidad” – “Unknown” in English) – really good with Liam Neelson, but I can’t tell you about it or it would be spoilt. We also saw “Without Limits” a week ago – also a great movie. The story probably appeals more to the male species, but I believe the main actor (Billy Crudup) is good looking enough for the “chicas” to forget whether or not it’s a good story. After “Unknown” we met up with Josef and Sharon for a few beers and a curry sitting outside on a terraza until about 01h30 – absolutely magic!

(The g) Vivi and I borrowed (and rented) bicycles this morning and went for a ride along the river in Madrid. Quite exceptional what the Madrid ayud  ayunt   ayund local government have done with what used to be a noisy highway zone – great cycling/running/ walking/ roller-blading tracks for miles and leading into the Caso del Campo, an enormous park below the Palace on the outskirts of Madrid. We drank ice cold beer and ate the salmon and cheese “bocadilla” Vivi had prepared next to the Lake. Really special. Although after arriving home after about 5 hours, Vivi’s muscles reminded her that it had been a loooong time since her previous bike-ride. We are DEFINITELY in for a quiet evening at home with a DVD tonight!

OK. Enough rabbiting on….. the Smile……..

First, in case you have forgotten, we have a Friday Song to get your feet tapping, hands clapping, neighbour in the adjecent cubicle calling for the police….
The Friday Smile Song

Next, well see below for contributions from James (Josie), Time (Josie), Mark (London) and

Abrazos a todos,

Simon.

PS if you missed all of Genesis’ subtle distribution of our latest thought-piece: “The first habit of highly effective decision makers: getting the basics right” – click below to get the as- interesting and as-entertaining document (special thanks to Mandy for artistic and editorial input).

The First Habit

And in honour of an exceptional couple, a quote from Walter Sisulu, whose wife, Albertina, died recently.
It is a law of life that problems arise when conditions are there for their solution.

_________________________________________________________

THE SMILES

Prince Charles is visiting an Aberdeen hospital.  He enters a ward full of patientswith no obvious sign of injury or illness and greets one.

The patient replies:
“Fair fa your honest sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin race,
Aboon them a ye take yer place,
Painch, tripe or thairm…”

Charles is confused, so he just grins and moves on to the next patient.
The patient responds:
“Some hae meat an canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat an we can eat,
So let the Lord be thankit.”

Even more confused, and his grin now rictus-like, the Prince moves on to the next patient, who immediately begins to chant:
“Wee sleekit, cowerin, timrous beasty,
O the panic in thy breasty,
Thou needna start awa sae hastie,
Wi bickering brattle.”

Now seriously troubled, Charles turns to the accompanying doctor and asks”Is this a psychiatric ward?”

“No,” replies the doctor, “this is the serious Burns unit.”

 

Harry bumps into William at the reception.

“Brilliant do, bruv. Have you seen Dad?”

“He wasn’t invited, mate,” replies Wills, “but mine’s dancing with Camilla.”

Some new, some old but funny, most downright non PC!My neighbor knocked on my door at 2:30am this morning, can you believe that 2:30am?! Luckily for him I was still up playing my Bagpipes……….I sat on the train this morning opposite a stunning Thai girl.I kept
thinking to myself, please don’t get an €rection, please don’t get an €rection…………..but she did.Did you hear about the fat alcoholic transv€stite?
All he wanted to do was eat, drink and be Mary.Paddy says “Mick, I’m thinking of buying a Labrador.
“”Forget that” says Mick “have you seen how many of their owners go blind”Man calls 999 and says “I think my wife is dead”
The operator says how do you know?
He says “The s€x is the same but the ironing is building up!Spent £40 on eBay last week for a p*nis enlarger. Just opened it and
some joker sent me a magnifying glass!I saw a poor old lady fall over today on the ice!!
At least I presume she was poor – she only had £1.20 in her purse.My girlfriend thinks that I’m a stalker.
Well, she’s not exactly my girlfriend yet.I woke up last night to find the ghost of Gloria Gaynor standing at the
foot of my bed. At first I was afraid…….then I was petrified.

What’s the difference between Iron Man and Iron Woman?
One’s a superhero and the other is an instruction.

Went for my routine check up today and everything seemed to be going
fine until he stuck his index finger up my bottom!……….. Do you think I should change dentists?

A wife says to her husband you’re always pushing me around and talking
behind my back. He says, “what do you expect? You’re in a wheel chair.”

I was explaining to my wife last night that when you die you get
reincarnated but must come back as a different creature. She said “I
would like to come back as a cow”. I said, “you’re obviously not listening.”

I was in the pub with my wife last night and i said i love you.
She said is that you or the beer talking ? I replied it’s me talking to the beer.

 

DSK, when registering for his Sofitel hotel room
– this will be $3,000, sir
– how much?
– 3000 dollars, sir, but service is included and our dedicated staff is at your disposal!
– Oh alright, very well then.

 

 

 

 

Angela Merkel quote “this is quite a blow to the IMF” , while having her teeth sharpened by her dentist

 

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