Ampers' Rants

Ampers' Rants

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17 Oct 2022

Please Note

This is a catch all for items which don't fit in the above categories. When a few items can fit into a recognised group, I'll make a new category 

Information Overload 

How can I avoid it? 

What with Emails, Mobile Phones, Social Media, and friends sending us information, we are bombarded every way we turn. Especially in politics.

I am particularly interested in politics. 

Coming from SouthAfrica I follow South African politics, and having spent a few years in the USA I follow American politics. Finally, having spent another few years in Europe, I follow much of theirs. And, now I'm resident in England!

In addition, I follow City news as I invest in stocks and shares; I hold gold, so follow gold prices. In addition to all this, I follow all the misinformation about that pesky virus on the Ace-Medical channel in Telegram.

Over the years I have honed a skill of reading, listening or watching just enough to know what is going on. Once I get the gist of the article, video etc, I switch off. There is absolutely no need to know the nitty gritty.

A good example of what I am trying to say is to mention Lisa Daftari MA. She is an investigative journalist on Foreign Affairs. She produces a daily email of her newsletter.

Lisa has just ten items of news from around the world. They are in the form of a heading (one line on a mobile) a description underneath, of three or four lines (again on a mobile) – so extremely short! Finally, there is a link to the article she researched, in case you want to read more.

I read the ten headings and some of the four or five lines of the short description every day. About once a fortnight I might actually follow the link to read the original article. It takes me no time at all to keep informed.

I also follow several people on YouTube and, once again, I skip their “commercials” and just watch enough to get the gist. The Telegraph puts out just a couple of paragraphs, and wants you to pay to read the whole article. Heck, I hardly ever read the second paragraph! No Sale!

Twitter, for example, is right up my street. I started by following all the newspapers there, and got links to articles on various subjects on which I never spend more than one minute. However, I now spend more time on Twitter as it produces some interesting information which I share with people elsewhere. More follows!

Telegram allows groups(interactive) and channels(information). I have several channels divided into subjects of interest: Politics, Medical, Financial, Technology, General and more.

If you have the Telegram app on Android, iPhone or WinPhone, or perhaps their computer program on Windows, Apple iOS or Linux, it’s all free. Then, when you are in, join AceStart - there is only one message there, it is a list of my channels with the name, a short description of what information is on each list. Join only those where the subject interests you. I search social media so you don’t have to. However, I only add information that is really pertinent so many channels are not very busy – except Ace-Medical of course.

Remember, new ideas are like new words. They are not yours until you have used them in conversation with someone. By conversation, I mean verbally, face to face or in a telephone conversation, not a text or email, including social media, WhatsApp or Telegram!


Saturday Morning schools

We need to help our young prepare themselves for entering the world of work.

In the fee paying public schools many have lessons on Saturday mornings, but our council run schools don’t. In addition they only concentrate on We need to help our young prepare themselves for entering the world of work.

In the fee paying public schools many have lessons on Saturday mornings, but our council run schools don’t. In addition they only concentrate on reading ‘ ‘riting’ and ‘rithmetic’ in other words, the three R’s.

But, public schools also prepare their young for the outside world, and our government should set aside for children from a young age, to attend Saturday morning school. Initially, thirteen year olds to attend once a month, fourteen year olds, twice a month, and from fifteen years onwards each Saturday.

These should not be compulsory for fourteen and fifteen year olds, but compulsory for thirteen year olds. My reasoning is, if we make it fun for the younger ones, they’ll want to continue and as the army found in the late fifties, a volunteer was always more valuable than the conscripted National Serviceman.

Things which should be taught:

Banking  How important it is to build financial security.

Politics  How important it is to take an interest in how politicians are elected and how they do their work. This should be totally apolitical.

Internet  How to use search engines to obtain infrmation, and how important it is to get your information from at least three sources. More if the three sources all give different information!

Exercise  How important it is to keep fit, especially if you have plans to start your own business and can’t afford to be ill.

Drugs   All drugs will lead you to oblivion. This includes smoking and drinking. Nowadays it is easy not to smoke but not so easy not to drink. If the person must drink, to sip slowly, you’ll buy your own so as not to get caught up in round buying. Buy half pints or small wine amounts. Allow always three clear days a week to drain the liver of alcohol. And if offered hard drugs, say “I don’t need them, but please, you go ahead!”

Computers Learn to type fairly fast, it will always be useful as even senior executives prefer to type most of their emails. Learn  how to use a word processor and a spreadsheet. Be aware of standard graphic and desktop publishing programs. Don’t  waste your time on Computer Games, but Majong can be useful as it trains your eyes to search over a wider area and to notice things. Pelmanism (matching pairs) helps train the memory and chess can prepare you for strategic thinking and planning.

Parents should use this to steer their offspring in the right direction


Africa is dangerous

This event dates back to 1953 when I was fourteen. My memory is a little hazy as it was told to me third-hand by a doctor at the hospital where the victim ended up.

One day, our victim (I will call him Hendrik) decided to go fishing so his wife drove him to his ideal spot and dropped him off. It was half a mile walk across the veldt (bush) to the river. He started to fish and stepped back onto a snake which bit him on his lower leg. It was a poisonous snake, but probably not a Black Mamba, or a Boomslang (treesnake) as these would not have enabled the rest of the story.

He quickly tied a tourniquet and, as he knew the mail van came past every Wednesday, he very slowly and gingerly made his way to the road. He was in the process of passing out when the mail van arrived and rushed him to the nearest hospital where the doctors saved him.

The mail van driver called a couple of days later to find out the patient’s progress. He said to Hendrik, you are a very lucky that I was passing by. “Oh” said Henrik, “I knew you came along that way every Wednesday so all I had to do was to get to the road”.

The mail-man looked aghast! “But, I come by there on Thursdays! The only reason I came Wednesday was that floods were forecast for the next day.

Life can be very mysterious and move in strange ways. I know, I'm an Afrikaner and was brought up in Africa. 


We are molly-coddled wherever we go

I was walking along a London (UK) road. and there were three council equipment dumps awaiting collection. There were six of these signs telling you where to walk.

There was an alternative - you could walk in a busy road with cars tearing past!

All this mollycoddling will be the end of us! Nature demands the survival of the fittest to ensure the survival of the species - we are failing!

Britain used to be such a strong country, and Brits fearless. 


Gold, shares or Crypto? 

Invest in gold, shares, crypto: diversify? (I prefer gold)

There can be, as many of you have found, some nasty dips with crypto. One nasty problem was started by one man (the South African Elon Musk) saying something and the currency started to go down. Then a country started to put their oar in (China) and the currency starts to crumble in a big way. It will pick up again, but bear in mind, this is being called “The people’s currency” and that isn’t going down well with governments! Even Superman feared it!

“The peasants cannot be allowed to have their own monetary system that we can’t control”.

Is the writing on the wall? This is the one thing only you can decide, but decide wisely. Whether it is, or not, here is a way to safeguard yourselves.

How much have you invested to date? Each time the coin goes up, take part of it out off your original investment. Once you’ve recovered your original investment buy gold Britannias and Sovereigns. Yes, these won’t go up so fast but, neither will they crash through the floor.

Once you have recovered your original investment, keep a watch on the prices and as soon as it goes up again, take a percentage out, check the prices in a spreadsheet on a regular basis. I still check daily although - following the above - I have reclaimed my investment in full and bought gold. If the price of my stake drops, who cares!

Don't put everything in Crypto!

Invest your money in other areas as well! I feel there are going to be monetary problems in the near future; cash is going to go down through the floor. Buying shares is a good alternative for your profit. Remember, money in the bank or under the bed will devalue soon.

if you have the attitude that shares are risky, as you may have to sell when they are down, remember that may not be as bad as the value of the money’s purchasing power halving or even more.

I'll leave you by repeating a Chinese curse!

"May you live in interesting times!"


Are you a worrier or pessimist 

Wariors aren't worriers

The Tony Robins course weekend started on Friday evening and was from 5pm to 2am Saturday morning. Saturday was 10am to 3am Sunday morning. Sunday was half day from 10am to midnight! There was an extra optional day included from 10am to 4pm on Monday.

It was all very interesting and I learned a lot of things, including how to walk 15 yards on white hot coals in my bare feet at 1am on Saturday morning!

It was much later that I realised that my whole attitude to life was changing for the better on a personal level.

Two things which I find so useful that I would like to pass these on to others. The first is good common sense. The second required me to get confirmation from a psychiatrist and two psychologists. They all agreed it made sense although they wouldn’t have simplified it that way.

The first is, if you have a problem, no matter how serious, don’t worry about it – go and sort it immediately, or failing that, as quickly as you can.

The second concerns the brain. Your brain is geared to two things. To avoid pain and to search for pleasure. Unfortunately for worriers and pessimists, your brain listens to everything you think and say. And gears itself to avoid pain and give pleasure.

But if your thoughts are negative, your brain thinks, that’s what you want, and piles more negativity onto you. The same with worry.

Once I realised this, I became more careful with my thoughts and, if anything negative happens, I asked myself “How can I turn this around, and have fun doing it”. That last part is more important than you think. The brain immediately picks up on the word fun, analyses the thought, and works on turning the problem around in an easy and fun way. ***

I then read the Robbins book, ‘Awaken the giant within’. This was a great help reinforcing the seminar I had attended. Robbins has moved on from NLP which that book was based upon though. He has written further books on this subject. Many of my friends and colleagues read my articles and they will acknowledge I am a happy individual, always full of enthusiasm and never miserable

*** If you want to try this idea, email me at and I will help you to word a card of five sentences to inspire you every day. Then print it in large type and put it by your bed. Read it every night before you retire and every morning when you rise. After a few weeks you will begin to note a change.


The power of words

Piet, another Afrikaner, gave me permission to reproducs this a long time ago on one of my previous websites.

"The last quarter century of my life and also my future have been negatively influenced by words. The power of words is sometimes underestimated and I think we can each be more effective if we are careful with our words.

"I sat in a church many times as a child and heard our words matter. As a child, I understood the words and also realized that I could hurt people with words. I think most people think the same way as a child about how words affect us.

"Over time, one finds that the message about word use is deeper than just how one feels or how people think as a child, how words are used by someone who wants to hurt you. As you grow up, your focus turns away from yourself and you start to wonder if you can do more in life than just make yourself happy. For some people it is a superficial thought and they start doing things for other people to be seen or to soothe their conscience. Others do good to others from their hearts out of the principle of truly helping others. Then there are the people who sacrifice their lives to help others.

"The feeling of helping others and the use of words are intertwined. If you are sensitive to yourself and how you touch other people, then the saying starts to make sense to you, which is that the path to hell is covered with good intentions.

"It seems to me that people in our society say many things without thinking about how it affects others and thus paralyses their intended good works. Furthermore, it sometimes seems to me that it would have been better if people who pretend to be doing well should rather not do anything and thereby reduce the damage they do.

"Who are the people I have in mind. Here is the difficult answer. I think that’s all of us. All of us do damage every day with our words, sometimes with good intentions. The end goal does not validate the way we do things, but the goal and how we achieve it makes all the difference.

"Why is the point so important in my opinion? We live in a world that has changed rapidly in the last few decades. Many of the systems, culture and community that I grew up with are either ruined, changed or simply no longer considered valuable.

"We will need to start counting our words to create space for all of us to breathe and thus create the path where we hear each other and start working together as a team. One may wonder, well now, how can this apply to my life?

"Obviously one person doesn’t have all the answers and one video can’t change everything. What I did learn is that I am not the victim I sometimes think I am. I hope there is at least one person who will agree with me that they sometimes find that they are part of the problem, even if they mean well.

"What helps me personally is a number of ways of thinking and techniques that I apply to help protect myself from words against those that are just as eager to do something good as me or to counter someone’s effort so that my goal can be achieved instead. Three techniques that stand out to me are listening actively, believing a person until facts prove them wrong and finally, but most importantly not to waste people’s time.

"Each of these points can further be discussed in more detail, but even thinking carefully about the three points as markers has greatly helped me to make progress in my life." 


The end is nigh but was fun

Who remembers Borland's Sidekick (PIM) in the early 80s? I was in a pub in Bayswater, not a hundred yards from the London Russian Embassy, with a group of friends. We were moaning because the Americans wouldn't allow their software encryption out of the States.

This huge bear of a guy stalks over to our table - we were quite apprehensive - and said: "You come tomorrow, I give disks with encryption." We were very relieved to find he was friendly!

I came the next day with a couple of us, and he was there. He came over and put the disks on our table. I asked "How did you manage to get them with encryption?" He grinned and said: "Man in Washington Embassy cross road to computer shop and buy it!"

I wrote to Borland and told them the story but got no reply!

I learned, not every Russian is bad.


I made big money between the age 14 and 15 in South Africa, working in my holidays in the deep see fishing trawlers, so at 15 I was old enough to divorce my parents, leave school and leave South Africa for Europe. Coming over the Bay of Biscay in the Windsor Castle, one of the Union Castle Line's passenger ships (in 1955) I went to a film show (Hi-Lilly Hi-low - Teresa Brewer ISTR) and the sea was rough. Two sailors held the screen and one held the projector table.

One by one the passengers went off to be seasick and apart from the sailors, I was the only one left. I got my sea legs in the fishing trawlers! How they hated me. I could tell by the looks they threw me.

But I stuck it out to the end!

I learned independence is important.


After a year in England, I then went to the USA on a three year visa, and became a wanderer, travelling all over the USA, serving food, washing dishes, washing cars - you name it, I dit it! I befriended a sales guy, also 18, who lent me a suit, and took me to his sales convention. It was a huge arena with 2,000 salesmen sitting around a boxing ring. A small man, I learned later he was the sales director, climbed into the ring with a microphone - and yelled "What are we gonna do?" the entire audience stood up and yelled back: "We're gonna sock it to them". That set the mood for the whole day.

The day was fascinating and then and there I thought, I'm going to be a salesman. I did. Salesman, Sales Manager, Sales Director. The latter position became Director of Sales and Marketing. I then left to put my talents into my own company.

But not for a while. When I returned to England, I worked as a private dick for Eagle Investigations, near Selfridges - long gone - whilst I studied for my ACIS (Company Law and Company Accounting). That, with my sales and marketing knowledge equipped me to start, and run several companies and sell them until I retired.

I learned, your first inclination shouldn't be disgarded out of hand.


I am lazy in as much as I always find the easiest way of doing things. When I was young my boss kept moving me from department to department every four to six weeks. I complained to him about this and he told me that I always managed to find a better way of doing everything. I asked for a rise of salary, and the bastard refused. I walked out!

I learned, I am worthy of my hire!


The sixties were good to me. I joined the Overseas Visitors Club in Earls Court, in London. Great club, dancing every night, two bars, a restaurant and lots of residential houses with rooms to let all over Earls Court. Plenty of girls, every two weeks a charter of hundreds of people came in, one fortnight from Australia and New Zealand, alternate fortnights were from South Africa and the Rhodesias. These were girls away from parental watchfulness more than willing to let their hair down. Wow! I was there!

The club owner, Nick Tarsh was selling the club so I asked him for an honorary life membership. He retorted: "Why should I give you Life Membership?" I said "It won't cost you anything and I heard it was a rough and tough negotiation." He laughed and took a form, signed it as paid and told me to fill it in and take it to reception.

I learned, if you don't ask, you don't get!


I retired at 65, but by 70 I was bored.

So I became a freelance IT Journalist. Getting paid for receiving gadgets and all sorts of items, writing about them, and getting paid for my fun. Also being wined and dined by PR companies in top restaurants and hotels - even Claridges!

But after five years of putting on weight, drinking fine wines and playing with my toys, I got tired again. So I retired at 75!

Then, at 80, I got bored again. So now I run a branch of a world wide organisation - a sort of pressure group, but, no doubt, I will retire again at 85!

When I'm 90? Not too sure what I might do. Might enter politics if whoever is Prime Minister is thinking of retiring...

I learned, people growing old are slightly mad!