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Wednesday, 29 June 2011

One of Cathy's letters from Zimbabwe, please don't read it if you weep easily at others' misfortunes.

Every now and again I get a newsletter from Cathy in Zimbabwe but it is never happy reading, anyway you can see for yourself:

Dear Family and Friends,

Walking out in the early mornings there are two things you can almost guarantee this winter. One is the delicate, rosy-pink glow at sunrise, announced by the voices of scores of roosters all over the neighbourhood. The other is the thin blue spirals of wood smoke that rise from cooking fires in all directions and fill the dawn air. 
Yet again winter has bought gruelling power-cuts back to Zimbabwe making marathons out of the smallest of chores. It’s always the Mum’s that carry the heaviest burden and you don’t have to go far to see the proof. 

Ampers Humour: The (South African) walls of Jerico

A new school inspector is assigned to the grade 4 class in one of the local [South African] schools. He is introduced to the class by the teacher.

She says to the class: "Let's show the inspector just how clever you are
by allowing him to ask you a question."

The inspector decides to ask a biblical question.

Myna, from Stellenbosch talks about the power within us all.

My friend Mirna van Wyk is an educational psychologist from my home town of Stellenbosch. She taught at several schools, amongst others Stellenbosch High School, Bloemhof Girls’ High and Jan Kriel School for learners with barriers to learning. She is a mother, loves art, the ocean and children.The whole key to this episode is highlighted in red below!

Choose how to react

I was reflecting with a client this afternoon on how much emotional growth and independence she experienced over the past year because of our sessions-and she responded hesitantly: 100%! 

The joys of Google Reader and RSS feeds, explained in full detail.

If you have any problems following this, comment below and I will reply.

I blogged recently about various Google products. I have had some very positive results from one of these products which I would like to share with you
This is Google Reader. To access it, just search for “Google Reader” with or without the quotes.
The best way to impart my experiences is to tell you how I use it.

Nine tips when using Google to speed up your searching enormously

Here are a few tips to make searching in Google more accurate and therefore, more enjoyable!
1. Capitals are ignored Capitals, capitals, CaPiTaLs are all treated the same way. There is only one exception here, see point 7 below.
2. Put in enough information. Putting London in to get information about City Airport will bring you in umpteen thousand items about London, If you put in London East airport you will get mainly information about City Airport. Naturally there are better ways to do this as you will see in point 3 below.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Searching for Kapirinengu - a trip in the African bush - long with photographs

I found this amazing story in Peter Jassie's lovely, and interesting, newsletter, "Funky Munky" from South Africa. And, please bear in mind that English is Paul's second language.

Paul van Pletzen writes:
 On the road
It was about 5 years ago that I first heard about a fishing camp called Kapirinengu, situated at the confluence of the Chewore river and the Zambezi, on the border of the Sapi and Chewore safari areas (down stream from Mana Pools game reserve). 
No amount of enquiries through friends in Zimbabwe, or at the Zimbabwe wildlife authorities, could produce any information about this seemingly mystical place. Maps of the area are hard to come by, even Google Earth will get lost there! On a visit to Mana Pools and Mongwe fishing camp (in Hurungwe safari area, about 10km from Chirundu) 3 years ago, not even the warden at Makuti or the staff at Mana Pools could be of assistance.

PM said "country's top institutions needed to attract students from poorer backgrounds."

When you analyse what David Cameron has said there, it reeks of political correctness, and just doesn't add up.

I am white, from South Africa, and if I wasn't retired and running a business, and four people were applying for a job in my business; a white South African, a Muslim, a Zulu and a Chinaman, guess who I would pick?

You are correct, there's not enough information is there?

Monday, 27 June 2011

Hannan giving the Americans a lecture on their History

Two videos as the speech was too long to go on the YouTube website.

American gun ownership, the end result.

An Arizona Police Officer pulled over a pick-up truck owner for a faulty taillight.

When the officer approached the driver, the man behind the wheel handed the officer his drivers license, insurance card and a concealed weapon carry permit known colloquially as a CCP.

Oh Glory be - a Canadian saved my life

I was trying to set my blog up so instead of showing in the url, it would only show - my own domain.

I went into the DNS system and added the four Google "A" domains, and one CNAME for google. The next time I went in to my blog, it was gone! Just a blank screen every time I tried to log on.

I asked several friends, one up the road in London, one about 40 miles away, one about 175 miles away, and one in America, to see if the problem wasn't localised to London, the UK etc. And none of them could access it. So it must have been something my end.

A Canadian helped doggedly, to get me up and running and, after many attempts, we discovered that I had conflicting information in the DNS records on my domain providers management site. I was asked to delete two offending "A" records, which I did, and immediately got my blog back.

Thank you Bonjour Tristesse - if you ever come to London, I'll buy you an effing big drink!


Thursday, 23 June 2011

IMPORTANT - please take note for Ampers' Rants

One day, very soon, you won't have access to

Please always use this address to visit Ampers' Rants:

I am not moving but during the next couple of weeks I am going to change things so that this name will appear in the URL of all my posts but Blogger (Blogspot) will only allow one of the addresses. The reason why I am doing this, and being a bit awkward - for which I apologise - is that it gives me greater control over my blog (weblog).

For example, I used to be on Blogger, then I moved to Wordpress but after a while I was disillusioned with Wordpress and moved back to Blogger. However, I have lost thousands of viewers by constantly moving. Originally on my first time on Blogger, I had viewers in 96 different countries around the world.

By using the new address, registered to me, I will be able to change blog hosts (providers) whenever I want and as you are using, you will automatically be able to go to my new address without even realising it. So, during the next couple of weeks, will cease to work, and will be the only address to use.

In book-keeping, red is negative and blue is positive - looking at the addresses above, don't use the one in red, but do use the ones in blue.

Once this is done, I will never change the address again as I can just point the new domain to anywhere I want to. So remember, change today to:

Thursday 23rd of June may not be a good time to switch to



A fantastic five minutes of sound out of Africa via Slovenia.

Perpetuum Jazzile, are Slovenian and are a jazz choir. They have won the following awards: Four awards from the Vokal, an award from the Netherlands International Jazz competitions, the 2008 Choir Olympics in Austria amongst others.

Here they are performing 'Africa' and as CaptainRanty says in his blog: "Picture yourself being in a rain storm under a lot of trees and the raindrops hitting the leaves. First is the rain sound. Then the thunder. Then the choir sings. No band. One guy's voice is the drum. Choir uses hands [and feet] to simulate storm. Performed live at Vocal Extravaganza 2008, a concert spectacle of vocal jazz and popular music."

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

A question the world awaits to be answered with bated breath.

I have a serious question to ask, but first, study the following photograph.

Cameron, seems weak and vaccilating, has he no backbone? I know a man who has!

I despair of Britain.

On the left we have a clueless nobody, Ed Milliband who can't even hold on to a brother and on the right we have a weak, vacillating leader without any backbone, having his strings pulled by a jumped up nobody from the middle.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Manchester’s Half a Million Pilgrim Fund

52% of children in Manchester live in poverty, making it the third poorest place to live in Britain.

Manchester City Council are cutting front-line services in an act of political defiance – rather than saving money on the bureaucracy.

They are cutting 2,000 jobs in order to support their quarter of a million pound CEO and other fat cats. However FoI’s have  revealed a huge rump that could be cut in order to protect frontline services – starting with  the half a million spent every year paying staff not to work, but instead to do union activities. 

Last year £449,088.00 was spent on union pilgrims, taxpayer money being used to represent the interests of people who would rather see Britain go the way of Greece than push their pen for an extra year. Funny you don’t read about that on the Unison placards…

The above is a post from Guido Fawkes's blog. A must read for anyone interested in political expose in British Politics

Saturday, 18 June 2011

There really was a first Emperor of the United States, a true and fascinating story of the 19th Century.

The first Emperor of the United States

Just who was Emperor Norton? 
There is an awful lot that has been written about him on the Internet but very few people, outside of San Francisco have heard of him. I have, in the past, blogged a brief mention of this man but since then the story has unfolded even more.

Have you ever tried to get a watch repaired or a batter changed?

Have you ever tried to get a new battery for your wristwatch? Our local shopping mall is Brent Cross in North London and as my watch had ceased to function I took a trip there to get a new battery.

I popped into one of the jewellers there and they pointed out that my Seiko watch face was chipped and if water got in I would be wasting my money replacing the battery. So I asked how much for a new glass and a new battery.

“Oh, the watch must go for servicing in case any of the glass chippings had got into the works.” The assistant explained. I agreed and asked how much would it cost. I couldn’t believe it when I was quoted £70; nearly half that of the watch a few years previously. And this was in 2005, imagine what it would cost today!

48% of Americans Believe Another Great Depression Is Likely In The Next 12 Months – 19 Reasons Why They Are Not Completely Crazy

Working on the assumption that when America sneezes, we in Britain catch a cold, I thought this was relevent to us, read through Micharl's 19 reasons and watch for those that we recognise over here!

Do you believe that the U.S. economy is steamrolling toward a depression? If so, you are not alone, 48 percent of Americans believe that "another Great Depression" is likely within the next 12 months. 

Americans have been waiting for almost three years for a "recovery" to materialize, but instead there are all kinds of signs that the economy is about to get worse yet again. Inflation is rising but wages are not. 

There are millions of Americans that would do just about anything to get a decent job.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Should Ed Balls resign as Chancellor after losing this court case?

I have just heard that Ed Balls lost his court case for the debt he refuses to pay, by default.

A serious warning to ‘would be’ iPhone purchasers

Eighteen months ago Apple filed a patent to be able to close your camera down remotely, to be activated if sensors detect you are filming a live concert.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Caveat Lector - a Super Injuction exposed on the Internet as promised this morning.

Caveat emptor, or should that, in this instance, be "Caveat Lector"

Ampers Humour: Dear Mr Cameron, Give 50 year olds and older in work £1 million each and this will solve your problems

This came to me as a joke and, quite frankly, although funny, parts of it have merit. As a seventy-two year old and "homes" are getting closer every year, the prison idea has merit :-)

Dear Mr. Cameron,

Please find below our suggestion for fixing the UK ’s economy.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Nine photographs of one of the most amazing tree sculptures I have ever seen.

 I'll let the photographs do the talking here, but it would be nice to have been able to give credit to the sculptor!

Global Warming? Earth may be headed into a mini Ice Age within a decade

Wow, whatever happened to Global Warming, but before the deniers start jumping for joy, warm summers are over for the next fifty to a hundred years. The following is part of an article taken from The Register, with a link so you can read the second page on their website.

Now read on:

Physicists say sunspot cycle is 'going into hibernation'
What may be the science story of the century is breaking this evening, as heavyweight US solar physicists announce that the Sun appears to be headed into a lengthy spell of low activity, which could mean that the Earth – far from facing a global warming problem – is actually headed into a mini Ice Age.

Nigel Farage - The Way We're Made, All Made In England - good all round video

The is a nice video, the poster seems to have written and sung an appropriate song to go with a few excepts of Nigel speaking in the EU Parliament, together with a few stills.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Could this pretty but deadly woman be arrested if she came to Britain?

Our Olymoic shooting team are fobidden by our Police to train in Great Britain so they have to go to Northern Ireland to do so.

So where will the shooting matches for the Olympics take place?

Unlawfully Detained - an horrific tale of wrongful detention.

Unlawfully Detained!

by Anna Raccoon on June 9, 2011
Post image for Unlawfully Detained!
Last year I reported extensively on the case of Steven Neary, a 20 year old autistic man. At the time, only Private Eye had taken any interest in Steven’s ‘case’ and a friend of his Father’s asked me if I would promote the case on this blog, given my interest in Court of Protection matters.  The main stream media, despite many approaches, were monumentally uninterested in Steven’s plight.

Book: "How I raised myself from failure to success in selling"

The following book is on special offer at Amazon for £4.99. I was given a copy in my second sales position in the sixties and it inspired me and turned me around from being a mediocre salesman to a top salesman.

I am not going to tell you about the book, rather, as it is from Amazon, I am going to repeat the first three reviews on the book by ordinary purchasers of the book. I haven't picked from the dozens of reviews, I took the first three as they came.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Am I being a right-wing, uncaring and vindictive bastard?

Quite a while ago I heard about a mental patient who had killed three people and after just a few years was released into the community.
He returned to the mental hospital voluntarily, presumably because he thought he was a risk to people, but they let him wander in and out of the hospital, completely freely.
He killed again and the person in charge of the hospital came out with the old bloody “We have put in place a system where this couldn’t happen again!”
Read more »

Education, education, education, and how politicians never think their policies through.

I have a lot of contact with company executives in most fields as a journalist and I have noticed that so many of them have a public school education.
I began to wonder why this was as, when I was much younger, more working class people from Grammar Schools and even comprehensives tended to do well on the executive ladder.
Looking through the papers recently I notice that one comprehensive girl got – was it 54% or 56%? It was one of these figures, but it doesn’t really matter. What really does matter and, to me, is disgraceful, is the fact that she managed to get a “A” grade pass.
Read more »

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Job hunting in Cameron's Britain.

I rewrote my CV several times, I even got professional help, but, alas, just couldn't find a suitable job for my obvious talents.

In despair, I took part-time jobs, anything to keep the wolf from the door, and had fourteen of these jobs until I finally found one I could safely embrace on a full time basis.

Why Is This Not Treason?

Our English correspondent Paul Weston returns with a spirited broadside against the treacherous behaviour of the Labour government and their creation of Modern Multicultural Britain.

Why Is This Not Treason?
by Paul Weston

A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague. — Cicero

Blessed are the spongers for they will inherit the Welfare State

Blessed are the Spongers?
That's not what St Paul said, Archbishop

The following article was written by Peter Hitchens, a man whose work I don't normally read, but this touched a nerve, especially the highlighted parts below.

What do you want from Ampers' Rants, take the short survey today.

The survey is in the third column, on the very right, the bright sign with yellow lettering on a purple background.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Charter Cities

A fascinating video, and it really is happening - the first one in Honduras.

You should watch this one first as it is referred to in the next video two or three times.
Read more »

£1bn scandal of Gold Card on the taxpayer: Civil servants ordered to come clean amid accusations of massive new expenses abuse

Local Government Minister Grant Shapps has called for all expenses to be made available online

Local Government Minister Grant Shapps has called for all expenses to be made available online

Ministers are on a collision course with top mandarins over an extraordinary demand for them to publish their credit-card statements – to prove they have not been abusing their expenses.

The row erupted after the Government discovered that civil servants have been using official cards to pay for fast-food meals, drinks in the pub and even shopping trips to Tesco, with all bills sent straight to the taxpayer.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

10 Tipping Points Which Could Potentially Plunge The World Into A Horrific Economic Nightmare

This horrific scenario has been written by Michael, an American whose excellent blog I follow. And I recommend you at least take a look at it.

Although it is written by an American from the American point of view, there is nothing here that doesn't also apply to the United Kingdom.

It is rather long and, if you want to become truly depressed but enlightened, you should take the trouble to read it.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

An exciting new community website which is aiming worldwide.

An exciting new community website called Streetbank

Streetbank's Sam Stephen

and it's quickly taking off!  FIRE!!!

An amazing video from YouTube - a cat and a dolphin kissing! Unbelievable.

I have to admit, I normally lable email links like this as soppy, but this time I saw it on someone else's computer and felt I had to share it with everyone.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

A followup on my previous post on sending emails. The subject line is more important than you may think!

How much consideration to you give to your subject line? This is much more important than some people realise.

Ken Livingston

I took this for one of my press articles. Taken at the Russian Winter Festival in Trafalgar Square a few Januarys ago. Just testing my new Android app.

A well deserved break!

And a test to see where this Android app puts the photo.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Bob started out sensibly, but it was downhill all the way after

Just been watching Bob Crowe on Sky News and I have to admit, although I think he is a lump of slime, he started off talking very intelligently, arguing the case of why his members shouldn't suffer because of what the bankers have done.

The news reader says that it was caused by Labour who he supports. However, I beg to differ as he is a communist and has actually acknowledged that fact. I guess he doesn't watch television and is unaware that Communism has failed in Russia? But I digress...

After his rather surprising start, we started to hear all the communistic claptrap and he went from good, to bad, to worse. I think this was helped by skilful goading from the Conservative minister, but it was rather subtle and I am not sure.

If he had stuck to the subject in hand, he'd have scored, as it was, Crowe nil points, everyone else 12 points.

Porters restaurant - BYO wine - only £1 corkage, or buy theirs - they're licensed.

Not really a wine club, just a West End restaurant with a particularly nice deal.

3-Mobile have got it wrong - Rory Sutherland in full flow - a great speech.

This is an extremely powerful speech, made by Rory Sutherland.

Why you should listen to him:

From unlikely beginnings as a classics teacher to his current job as Vice Chairman of Ogilvy Group, Rory Sutherland has created his own brand of the Cinderella story. He joined Ogilvy & Mather's planning department in 1988, and became a junior copywriter, working on Microsoft's account in its pre-Windows days. An early fan of the Internet, he was among the first in the traditional ad world to see the potential in these relatively unknown technologies.

Brains of Britain, I can't believe these were actual answers but the presentation looks genuine!

There is a question for you to answer at the end of this blog, think very hard before you answer it. No prizes and nothing to send in, it is just for your own knowledge :-)


Sunday, 5 June 2011

Ampers' Humour - An Irish farmer running rings around the inland revenue.

From time to time, if I hear a really funny joke, I'll share it with you all. I try to avoid bad language, mainly because I feel it shows a lack of knowledge of proper adjectives, but sometimes a bad word really makes a joke, then it is OK.

Here's one that tickled my fancy:

A small indication that there is hope blossoming in the new South Africa

In South Africa, the ANCYL (ANC Youth League) leader, Julius Malema is an illiterate thug who loves to sing his ditty “Kill the Boer” and some say he is responsible for many of the 3,000 white farmers who have been murdered in South Africa since 1994 when Mandela took control.

The new, up-and-coming political party, the DA (Democratic Alliance) has a white woman at the helm which has incensed Malema even further. The 'madam' referred to in the South African Times article below is their leader, Helen Zille.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Don't let your web hosting company have the upper hand - tips for small organisations.

Most web hosting companies offer a sprat to catch a mackerel. They offer a free domain, and low charges for the first year. We use US hosting for our community newspaper and they offer longer deals. My present deal is a free domain and a three year contract at $3.95 a month. This includes scripting for, Joomla, Drupal and much, much more and, in fact, an awful lot more.

However, once you do this and then want to leave, some of the web hosting companies tell you, the domain is theirs as they had paid for it, and you can't take it with you.

My wife and I go for a cheap anniversary meal and send £50 to a charity in Jozi where not a penny goes on offices, salaries or expenses.

I have had a lot of people ask me why, on our anniversary and our New Year's meal, we go “cheap” and give £50 each time to a charity instead.

Well, we have found a charity in Jozi (local slang for Johannesburg) where the twenty ladies who organise it all work from home so there are no office rents. There are no office expenses either as, apart from all working for nothing as pure volunteers, they pay their own phone bills, travel bills and office expenses. I like that. It is good to know that my £50 all goes to the “sharp End”.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Feel free to copy my legal email disclaimer, it's the best there is.

How many of you remember the sixties. In particular, a folk singer called Wendy Grossman? In later life Ms Grossman gravitated to IT Journalism and has written for most of the old broadsheets in the past. Haven't seen her name lately and she may have retired.

I am a member of CIX, Google it if you'd like to know about it. But one day she posted the following disclaimer and it struck a note for me and I often send it to companies who use a stupid legal disclaimer and invite them to use this one instead. To date not one has replied, and not one has taken me up on my offer.

Do politicians really understand about price control? I don't think so!

Here is an excellent video which will explain the danger of price control. Full of charts and graphs to illustrate the point.

It also shows how the minimum wage doesn't affect the jobs of university students, or brighter kids from secondary schools, but removes job prospects by the less able in society.

Sir Philip Green - Saint or Sinner? You judge!

How do these protesters know what the financial arrangements were between Sir Philip Green's wife and himself I wonder? After all a man has to be pretty sure of his wife to channel all that money to her.  I am not saying it wasn't a fiddle, just musing.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

South African farmers: Not to be looked at by the squeamish

Life in South Africa; Cape Town, Stellenbosch and many other areas, is a wonderful experience and providing you stay away from the farmlands in the North, you will avoid the very true scenes that this video portrays.

EU expenses include €7.5m on private jets

EUROCRATS spent €7.5m (£6.6m) on private jets in four years and €20,000 on gifts during 2008-2010, including Tiffany jewellery and fountain pens, according to data collected by the Bureau for Investigative Journalism

Read the full story in City A.M.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

What to you say to this Mr Cameron???

 Double click to enlarge

Don't make me laugh, our National Health Service has never been free.

One of the sacred cows in Britain is to keep the National Health Service free.

We all pay for it, and its incompetences through the tax called the National Insurance Stamp and also out of our income tax system as the NI tax isn't enough, and hasn't been enough, to pay for all the layers of management and all the mismanagement over the ages.

Before I continue, I will say that I am not against free at the point of delivery. However, it is not free at the point of delivery. Ask anyone who has been to a dentist, or who wears spectacles.

Are Mother-in-Law jokes cruel and unkind?

My M-I-L is no longer alive, but whilst she was alive she was easy going, warm and very pleasant. Which is a pity really as I could never tell those awful Mother-in-Law jokes without feeling very guilty.

As I am feeling now, whilst I share this with you…

A car for picnics, and what a car :-)

I have just come across a Ford Fairlane car on the US dotcom domain of Ebay and at the time of writing it had attracted just over $4,000!

Described as a "1956 FORD Fairlane Fryer Convertible Gas Grill BBQ" car, it has to be seen to be believed. Bodywork immaculate and there are twelve photographs to see on the Ebay link in the title.

Here are three of them...