Saturday, October 31, 2009

newnoise1 on teaching children about money

Teaching children that money is a literary notion

Parents often give their children classic children's books to read and this is a good start.

The thing is that, while these books build character and stimulate children's imagination and creativity, it's not enough. If we can teach them to read and be interested in money matters at a young age we have provided them with a crucial tool to survive the financial hazards of life.

Children can not be kept innocent about money and how it works until they leave home and find that out through the school of hard knocks.

There is an informative article on
Why literacy is an important financial building block on

I wrote something to support my point:

Annie learns to read a balance sheet

Annie read a thousand books
from Hemingway to Walter Crooks.

She read between the lines
She knew a thousand rhymes.

Her character grew strong
her favorite words quite long.

Then suddenly life was a mess
of words like 'reposes'.

Annie frowned deeply at the mystery
of its meaning.

Then, at last, she knew
she was in a stew.

Yes, Annie could read,
read that she could.

Still, it took her four years
to catch up on arrears.

My point is, why let children learn at 40 what they could have learned at sixteen?

Any suggestions on books that can help children understand money matters are welcome.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

newnoise1 on Alice through the looking glass

'The time has come,' the Walrus said

Okay, no more shirking on my promised Alice through the looking glass review. What put me off from starting was that a number of literary reviews refer to the book as literary nonsense. Well, well or 'curiouser and curiouser', I should cry. So the one book that's quoted in everything from finance to economy and psychology books and newnoise1 reviews is literary nonsense? Now I'll admit that I don't understand what the term literary nonsense means. For all I know it means very clever nonsense.

Nonsense aside

Alice through the looking glass is filled with a hundred warnings, for instance, the warning against the abuse of power. Can I quote someone else when writing a review on Alice? All power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely said by one John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902).

Compare Alice through the looking glass with Alice in Wonderland. In both books Alice is confronted by authority figures. The King and Queen chess pieces in Alice through the looking glass and the Queen in the pack of cards in Alice in Wonderland. These authority figures are either giving her seriously debatable advice or threatening to chop off someone's head.

The warning against the follow the leader mentality is supported by the Walrus and the Carpenter who are leaders with thousands of followers. Remember the oysters that followed them to such a sad end?

'Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat -
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn't any feet.

Well of course it's nonsense! Very clever nonsense. Alice through the looking glass is a warning to children and adults to be weary of the advice the world has to offer and to think for themselves. Here is Humpty Dumpty's point of view:

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornfull tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean neither more nor less.'

Do not be fooled by the innocence of Alice the little girl. From Tweedledum to Tweedledee she is learning about the world and how to face it. She has to think on her feet, here is her reply to Humpty Dumpty's comments on words:

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master - that's all.'

If I didn't know better I would think George Orwell had a hand in Lewis Carroll's view on the use of words.

Both Alice books are political and social commentaries disguised as literary nonsense. These comments are universally true and relevant in all societies. Of course to write from the point of view of an innocent little girl gives you license to write what you want without getting into too much trouble. Those who should understand what you are saying will understand.

I prefer Alice through the looking glass to Alice in Wonderland but both are brilliant. When I don't find newnoise in the Alice books I am not concentrating!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Books, reading, writing and technology

Boston is having a book festival. Here is some news from the Boston Globe on the effect technology is having on the book industry.

Some people think book publishing is in its final throes. The Boston Book Festival begs to differ. - The Boston Globe

Posted using ShareThis

newnoise1 gets clueless on soccer

Soccer fever . . . tips from the clueless to the clueless

Even if you don’t know your soccer ball from your rugby ball there is still a remote chance that you to can make a rand or two by writing about upcoming soccer events.

I say remote and advise you to first read carefully through FIFA's guidelines on do's and don’ts before investing your nest egg in any brilliant ideas you may have. Be warned, most ideas will not work if you don't have a number of trade mark attorneys or advisors at your beck and call.

I'm not taking any chances. For instance, I had a wonderful idea. I was reflecting on how soccer players are fit, compact muscled machines, good looking and passionate. Why not have a competition where readers can vote to select the ten best looking players in the world? At least those players who don’t score a goal will get recognition for being gorgeous and I would have done my bit for the beautiful game. Now, after reading the do's and don'ts, I'm really not sure that this is legal.

One area that I think it will be legal to write about is what is meant by the term ‘offside’ in soccer. Only those in the very inner circle know what the expression means. You can find out and enlighten millions of men and women across the globe who would like to use the expression in a sentence but feel a bit offside when they do. Start your research soon, the most important soccer event of the decade is taking place from 11 June to 11 July 2010, in South Africa. I will, in the meantime, get more clarity on what is allowed and not allowed with regard to copyright.

What else? The most important rule in soccer is that you should try not to touch the ball with your hands. The second most important rule is to not accidentally land up in front of fanatic fans or a player who has just scored a goal. This could at best change your life forever in a hundred painful ways and at worst kill you.

I am not sure if I'm aloud to provide a link to the official site. It's not difficult to find. You can also search for their Guidelines document.

One of the host cities, Tshwane, gets a link it's my hometown:

Gordon institute of business:

Department of Trade and Industry

Here are some reading suggestions on soccer:

I will have to get back to you on this . . . anybody got any suggestions? A true, dramatic story on soccer would be preferable, let's allow the clueless to ease into it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

newnoise1 on frugality

Is frugal a four letter word?

Five years ago I knew a thing or two about money. One was you had to work to get it if you liked to sleep at night and two was that you need money to pay for stuff. Little did I know . . .

Everything changed when I was forced, no not at gunpoint but it felt like it at the time, to do research about a subject I found vaguely disgusting - money. I had to read a considerable number (okay hundreds) of articles about how much money you have to save to retire without hoping you die soon.

It took me about two weeks of reading to become hysterical. Overnight I became one of the most obsessed money researches in town, pouring over the business sections, my hands clasped together in panic. I freely admit I spoke to strangers in fast food franchises to help me calm down. I am embarrassed to admit how much my need to talk about money scared them off.

Eventually, I considered buying some shares as it seemed many people thought this a good idea. Like newsreaders for example. I envied them the confidence to let money-words roll off their lips like some exotic language. The thing is I knew millions of people listened to that language but I never dreamed anybody in their right mind took it seriously. Headline earnings per share . . . I repeated the words like mantras too open the windows to wealth. Headline earnings per share. This is an amazing concept. It means . . . well it's nearly like price earnings per share just different.

The broker was silent for a long time when I called and asked if R5 000 would be enough to buy some shares. Hearing his sophisticated snigger I could see myself sitting, a little old lady on my little rocking chair staring into the distance sharing my wild memories of the sweet café lattes of twenty years ago with my cat. Of course I won't be able to afford a cat. I will rock and rock waiting for students from an outreach program to bring me an extra blanket in winter. I called a financial adviser to hear more about pension plans and unit trusts and indexes and took an aspirin.

Once upon a time the word 'budget' could put me to sleep faster than the word 'staff meeting' now that word kept me awake into the early morning hours. As the Reserve Bank increased the interest rates, I kept the lights burning trying to figure out how to beat the bank. I listened to Pink Floyd singing about money being a crime and considered that despite their music being quite depressing in this instance they had a point.

In my quest the word got around that I was seriously researching the subject of money and a friend bought me the Wall Street DVD. I watched it like a documentary and at some point just after the son gets arrested, his Father advises, "Rather start doing something creative with your life than making money from what people are buying."

The man had a point I thought. On the other hand how am I supposed to do something creative if my financial advisor is convinced I have to save just about my entire salary every month to survive my retirement? I thought he was joking but the flinty look in his eyes confirmed his utter lack of humor. I stopped crying and laughing intermediately and started saving . . .more . . .

To conclude, as I read in one of the thousand blogs on frugal living - frugal, frugal, frugal . . even if it sounds like a four letter word it's still the way to get what you really want tomorrow by doing something about it today . . . as far as I can see.

Money reads that inspire

The Millionaire next Door
The Richest man in Babylon
The Power of Positive Thinking
Rich Dad, Poor Dad
The Fountainhead

If you want to read more about the money subject I can recommend Joshua Kennon's inserts at

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

newnoise1 writes short story

Do internet users have time to read short fiction online? I wonder. Here's my latest attempt, Email blackmail - 1300 words.

Email blackmail

Julia pressed the send button and felt all the blood rush from her face. She had somehow managed to send the email describing what she thought of the company to the Managing Director and owner, Mr. Croft, and not her best friend, Sybil, as she intended.
Her heart beat like a cornered rabbit's. Her hands clammy, she picked up the phone and called Mr. Croft's personal assistant Mrs. Jules.
'Don't worry about it dear, I'll delete it from his inbox as soon as I see it,' Mrs. Jules laughed, 'You do realize that you owe me a big favor?' she added, conspiringly.
'Of course,' Julia tried too laugh but even to herself it sounded more like a dry bone being cracked in half. She collapsed into her chair, there was still four office hours left in which she would have too hide her mini-nervous breakdown from her co-workers.
A very long hour later, Julia noticed a mail from Mrs. Jules in her inbox. She frowned as she read it.

'Hi dear, I have DELETED your message from MR CROFT'S inbox. We must talk about the favor YOU OWE ME. Meet me after work at the Cozy Cups!!!'

Julia's skin crawled at the commanding tone. She was about to find out why her
co-workers were weary of Mr. Croft's personal assistant. Could it be a practical joke? Surely blackmailers at least attempted too hide their identities? Or was she overreacting? Perhaps Mrs. Jules only wanted her to baby sit on Saturday or something harmless like that. Nevertheless, the message seemed sinister with the capital letters and exclamation marks worked into it.
Suddenly the company looked like the perfect place to work at if only Mrs. Jules didn't also work there. She glanced at the computer's digital clock. There were two hours left before she had to face Mrs. Jules.
Jake, her manager, walked into her office clutching a sheaf of papers, 'Julia, can you help with these, they're a mess, we've been trying to figure it out the entire week.' Jake's hair was a confusing ball of curls as always when confronted with a dilemma. He reminded Julia of a young Einstein.
'What is it?' she asked, knowing that she could solve the problem if it needed less than four seconds of her concentration.
'You look pale, something the matter?' he placed the documents on her desk.
'Headache,' she said, her mind working overtime as she glanced again at the clock showing she had 45 minutes to get herself to the Cozy Cups.
'Have a look at these and let me know what you think.' he said, and waited.
'Can I have a look at them tonight? I feel terrible, I have to go.' She hoped he didn't notice how her hand was shaking as she applied her lipstick.
'Can you call me when you're done tonight?' he said, surprised at her uncharacteristic lack of enthusiasm.
'Sure, I'll give you call the moment I'm done,' she placed the documents in her handbag.
'Have you got something for the head?' he called as an afterthought down the passage.
'Yes, I'll be fine.' she said over her shoulder as she tried to walk with her usual confidence on legs that wobbled.
The Cozy Cups was more or less empty. She found a table where Mrs. Jules could blackmail her in relative privacy, sat down and ordered a coffee. She removed Jakes' documents from her handbag. She wanted too seem in control of something when Mrs. Jules appeared.
The words on the front page swam in front of her eyes. Then a word or two that Jake had scribbled caught her attention. She looked closer, her heart starting to hammer in her chest.
'Hi there,' Mrs. Jules was her efficient self, her suit fit perfectly, not a hair was out of place.
Julia judged her to be around 50. She noticed that Mrs. Jules' smile did not reach her eyes which were ice blue.
'Well, let's get down to business,' Mrs. Jules wasted no time in making her demands quite clear. She needed money, urgently and regularly. She expressed her need in a husky voice in a few smooth sentences that made Julia suspect the woman was quite use to this kind of scene.
Julia started as her cell phone rang. It was Jake, still upset about the claims, 'I wanted to ask you, look specifically at the company named Cato's Catering. I don't even think Cato exists, I've been trying to call him the whole week, the company's not listed on the intranet. . .'
'Okay Jake, I'll have a look. I'll call you.' she thought quickly as she slowly returned the phone to her handbag.
'Mrs Jules,' she said, and tapped with a pencil on the documents in front of her, 'these documents are the claims you sent through to our office for payment.' she picked her words carefully as she announced, 'My Manager went through them and he's very unhappy . . . in fact his considering an audit of your entire office.' she held her breath as she waited for a reply.
Mrs. Jules turned nearly as white as the coffee cup that stood in front of her. 'I need the money you see . . . I'm desperate for money . . .' she stammered.
Julia shook her head, 'I can see from the clothes and haircut what you need the money for . . . let's make a deal," she said, trying to keep from hissing, 'you will resign on Monday and . . . these claims will disappear,' she forced her shaking hands to lie steady on her lap as she waited, not breathing.
Mrs. Jules held on to her composure, 'I still have the email,' she said, her voice firm.
'We both have documents.' Julia sipped her coffee.
'Let's forget the entire thing.' Mrs Jules, clutched at her handbag.
'No,' Julia shook her head, 'I will not be able to live with myself knowing you are still working for the company.' she said determinedly.
Mrs. Jules sat motionless, 'Very well, I will hand in my resignation,' she said and got up too leave.
'How many?' Julia blurted, not able to let go of the horror she had uncovered.
Mrs. Jules turned around, 'How many what?'
'How many staff members are you . . .collecting money from?'
'Enough.' Mrs Jules walked away her shoulders square, her head lifted proudly.
Julia ordered another coffee and called Jake. 'Are you still in the office? Could you meet me in the Cozy Cups?'
He sat down opposite her 15 minutes later.
'This morning I accidentally sent an email to Mr. Croft that I actually wanted to send to Sybil . . . ' she said.
'I've warned you so many times Julia!' he frowned.
'Yes,' she agreed and continued to tell him the rest.
When she finished he shook his head, running his hands through his hair.
'You are one lucky woman, you know that?' he said.
She nodded, her smile shaky.
'So what about the others, how do we let them know it's over?' he asked 'You promised the woman she won't be arrested for fraud.'
'We'll use the most effective form of communication, we'll spread the rumor that Mrs. Jules had to leave owing to some underhand activities.' she improvised.
'And Croft?'
'You know Croft, if it's not written down in black and white he doesn't listen to it,' she said trying too sound convincing.
'Have you learned something from all this?' he asked.
She nodded, 'Apply for a new position somewhere, but first, make sure Mrs. Jules doesn't work there already.'

Copyright © Newnoise1, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

newnoise1 quotes writers on writing

Writers on writing

I've done some surfing and listed the following insights on writing from 5 of the authors I selected for my 100 favorite books list.

George Orwell - 1984

"It was a bright day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." First line from 1984

'A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: What am I trying to say? What words will express it? What image or idiom will make it clearer? Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? And he will probably ask himself two more: Could I put it more shortly? Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?'

George Orwell - Politics and the English Language

Helene Hanff - 84, Charing Cross road

'Pride goeth.' First line from Apple of my eye

I’m working late in what’s left of the Guild offices when the phone rings and it’s Mrs. Helburn in New Haven. We had just mimeographed BY HAND 10,000 fliers with Away We Go. And Terry says to me, Helene, we’ve changed the title. You’ll have to rewrite the flier. The new title is…OKLAHOMA. Big deal! Back then it was the name of a state! Would you name a musical Maine or New Jersey? But we redo the fliers and hand crank out 10,000 new ones. Phone rings again…You’ll have to redo the fliers again. They want an exclamation point at the end. OKLAHOMA!

Helen Hanff - Underfoot in Show Business

Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse 5

'All this happened, more or less.' First line from Slaughterhouse 5

'My teachers wished me to write accurately, always selecting the most effective words, and relating the words to one another unambiguously, rigidly, like parts of a machine. The teachers did not want to turn me into an Englishman after all. They hoped that I would become understandable - and therefore understood. And there went my dream of doing with words what Pablo Picasso did with paint or what any number of jazz idols did with music. If I broke all the rules of punctuation, had words mean whatever I wanted them to mean, and strung them together higgledy-piggledy, I would simply not be understood.'

Kurt Vonnegut - How to Write With Style

Albert Camus - The Outsider

'Mother died today.' First line from The Outsider

'By the same token, the writer's role is not free from difficult duties. By definition he cannot put himself today in the service of those who make history; he is at the service of those who suffer it. Otherwise, he will be alone and deprived of his art. Not all the armies of tyranny with their millions of men will free him from his isolation, even and particularly if he falls into step with them. But the silence of an unknown prisoner, abandoned to humiliations at the other end of the world, is enough to draw the writer out of his exile, at least whenever, in the midst of the privileges of freedom, he manages not to forget that silence, and to transmit It in order to make it resound by means of his art.'

Albert Camus - Speech at the Nobel Banquet at the City Hall in Stockholm, December 10, 1957

Mark Twain - Huckleberry Finn

'The personages in a tale shall be alive, except in the case of corpses, and that always the reader shall be able to tell the corpses from the others.'

Twain's Rules of Writing

Sunday, October 11, 2009

newnoise1 lists 100 books that make newnoise

Finally, my list of 100 books that still make newnoise

1. 1984 - George Orwell
2. 84 Charing Cross road - Helen Hanff
3. A burnt-out case - Graham Green
4. A deafening silence - John Miles
5. A dry white season - Andre P. Brink
6. A man for all seasons - Robert Bolt
7. A town like Alice - Nevil Shute
8. Alice through the looking glass - Lewis Carrol
9. All quiet on the Western front - Erich Maria Remarque
10. At Bertram's Hotel - Agatha Christie
11. At thy call we did not falter - Clive Holt
12. Atlas shrugged - Ayn Rand
13. Brave new world - Aldous Huxley
14. Catcher in the rye - J.D. Salinger
15. Cat's eye - Margaret Atwood
16. Claudius the God - Robert Graves
17. Deliverance - James Hickey
18. Diamond mind - Rob Nairn
19. Dice man - Luke Rhineheart
20. East of eden - John Steinbeck
21. Evening class - Maeve Binchy
22. Exodus - Leon Uris
23. First lines - Gemma O'Conner
24. I never promised you a rose garden - Hanna Green
25. I, Claudius - Robert Graves
26. Illusions - Richard Bach
27. In cold blood - Truman Capote
28. Jung and the story of our time - Laurens van der Post
29. Life before life - Helen Wambach
30. Lila, an inquiry into morals - Robert M. Pirsig
31. Long walk to freedom - Nelson Mandela
32. Lord of the flies - William Golding
33. Mafikeng road - Herman Charles Bosman
34. Man and the meaning of life - Victor Frankl
35. Many mansions - Gina Cerminara
36. Matilda - Roald Dahl
37. Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka
38. Misquito coast - Paul Theroux
39. Not a penny more not a penny less - Jeffrey Archer
40. Of human bondage - Somerset Maugham
41. One child - Torey Hayden
42. Operators and things - Barbara O'Brien
43. Ordinary people - Judith Guest
44. Pippy Longstocking - Astrid Lindgren
45. Promised land - Karel Schoeman
46. Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier
47. Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank redemption - Stephen King
48. Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe
49. Seize the day - Saul Bellow
50. Selected to live - Johanna-Ruth Dobschiner
51. Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
52. Spud - John van de Ruit
53. Steppenwolf - Herman Hesse
54. Sybil - Flora Retha Schreiber
55. Tao te Ching - Lao Tze
56. The adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
57. The age of innocence - Edith Wharton
58. The anthology of fantastic literature - Alberto Manguel
59. The bell jar - Sylvia Plath
60. The Bible
61. The Border - A. J. Brooks
62. The Cinderella complex - Colette Dowling
63. The covenant - James A. Michener
64. The crucible - Arthur Miller
65. The death of Ivan Ilych - Leo Tolstoy
66. The devil's advocate - Andrew Neiderman
67. The devil's advocate - Morris West
68. The egg and I - Betty MacDonald
69. The electric kool aid acid test - Tom Wolfe
70. The fountainhead - Ayn Rand
71. The French leuitenant's woman - John Fowles
72. The glass bead game - Herman Hesse
73. The grapes of wrath - John Steinbeck
74. The hitchhikers guides to the universe - Douglas Adams
75. The importance of being Ernest - Oscar Wilde
76. The life and times of Michael K - J.M Coetzee
77. The little prince - Antoine de Saint Exupery
78. The millionaire next door - Thomas J. Stanley and William D.Danko
79. The money-changers - Arthur Hailey
80. The moon and the sixpence - Somerset Maugham
81. The outsider - Albert Camus
82. The outsider - Colin Wilson
83. The power of now - Eckhart Tolle
84. The power of one - Bryce Courtenay
85. The power of positive thinking - Norman Vincent Peale
86. The practice of the presence of God - Brother Lawrence
87. The prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
88. The richest man in Babylon - George S. Clason
89. The road to Mecca - Athol Fugard
90. The shoes of the fisherman - Morris West
91. The silence of the lambs - Thomas Harris
92. The sneeches on the beeches - Dr Zeuss
93. The teaching of Buddha - Bukkyo Dendo Kyoki
94. The trial - Franz Kafka
95. The vestibule - Jess E. Weiss
96. Two years before the mast - Richard Henry Dana
97. Voyage beyond belief - Terence Kelly
98. Your erroneous zones - Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
99. Zen and reality - Robert Powell
100. Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance - Robert M. Pirsig

Friday, October 2, 2009

newnoise1 rushes the read

Rushing the Read

The saying goes that you shouldn't buy shares on media reports. This is easy to say but what are you suppose to do? Go out there and work for the company for a few years?

Look at the news I scanned through today:

One news report claimed that according to Ricky Ponting, the Australian cricket team captain, the pitches they were playing on are life threatening. Then, when I watched the game, the commentators couldn't get over how wonderful the pitch was. So, I probably scanned so fast and through some twist of fate still don't know where they were playing today. Okay, so I fell asleep once or twice during the game and missed out on that part.

So this left me quite confused in a day when I needed every bit of my alleged intelligence to try and understand why Julius Malema was raving on about Nedbank. It's like I've missed some important episode of Dallas - the one where JR got shot. How hard to I have to concentrate to know what's going on!!?? The entire thing sounds like you need to have at least some post graduate training to understand the issues. I think what I'll do is go to Nedbank and open an account and while I'm there perhaps they'll kindly inform me on what the hell is going on.

The other thing I picked up in the Business Report this week is that e-books will do well in South Africa but hand held reading devices are more popular in America. My conclusion in the end was that to download an e-book to your computer is probably cheaper than buying a reading device to do it with. Your guess is as good as mine.

Other confusing news is that FNB is quite optimistic about house prices starting to rise soon while Standard Bank isn't or something like that.

How's that for noise?