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The Case Against Sugar

The Case Against Sugar” is the new book from Gary Taubes.  He is also the best-selling author of the book, “Why We Get Fat”.  I have previously read and written about “Why We Get Fat” and I am currently reading his brand-new book.  He says the purpose of the book in his author’s note is to present the case against sugar – both sucrose and high fructose corn syrups as the principal cause of the chronic diseases that are most likely to kill us.  He points out that a third of all adults are now obese, two-thirds are overweight and almost 1 in 7 is diabetic and 1 in 4 will die of cancer, yet we continue to ignore the prime suspects for all of these diseases and act as if sugar is just a source of harmless pleasure.  He says that the Case against Sugar is an argument for the prosecution of sugar, as if it were a criminal case.  I love to read these types of books at the beginning of the year, particularly when I realise that I am certainly addicted to sugar myself and that it is a major problem in my life that I need to tackle, so I hope that books like this will be an inspiration to do so.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 19-Jan-17   |  Permalink   |  14 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
What is your favourite app?

I thought for today’s blog I would ask a simple question and that is what your favourite app on your phone is?  I would love to know what apps you use, what you find useful and which, amongst the apps that you use, are the ones that interest you the most or you have the most fun with.  I like a few golf ones I won’t bore you with, also the weather apps and Bloomberg for business news.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 17-Jan-17   |  Permalink   |  23 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
The power of an enduring brand  J&B Met

The J&B Met is an example of the power of an enduring brand.  The best evidence of the fact that it is so effective is that we still mention their name even though the race is no longer the J&B – they are not the sponsors anymore!  They however sponsored it for so long that people like me still think of The Met as the J&B Met.  It is really the best horseracing day in South Africa and overshadows the excitement of the July Handicap and the Summer Cup.  The July is a busy day, it has some very close races, but I don’t think the racecourse has as true an a track as the one that you find at Kenilworth and I far prefer the crowds and the people in Cape Town and the way they dress to the crowds you see at the Durban July.

The bottom line is that the Cape’s most famous horserace, which is on the last Saturday of January every year, is now sponsored by Sun International.  They will have to sponsor it for a long time before we can forget about J&B who sponsored it for 39 years and that really does show you that a brand name cannot be built up overnight and it needs to be sustained with consistent advertising, promotion and good work over many years until it reaches the stage where people like me incorrectly identify the race, which truthfully should simply be called The Met, with a brand which no longer sponsors it.  Incidentally, J&B is marketed in South Africa by Diago SA. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 09-Jan-17   |  Permalink   |  15 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Never enough RAM for computers

I was quite impressed with my set-up for my new computer, and I say new because I’ve had it for about a year, which was 32Mb of RAM.  I really thought it had far more power than most computers would have.  I have been struggling recently in trying to put together some videos on Adobe Premier Pro, which is a video editing software and my computer keeps crashing on me.  I went back onto the website of the specialist company that put together my last computer – a super silent computer which makes almost no sound at all – to see what specifications they recommend for using Adobe Premier Pro.  They say 32Mb of RAM is an absolute minimum!  In fact, their recommended set-up has more RAM that I even knew was possible these days which is 512Mb!  All that I have to do is to find a computer that combines that amount of RAM or perhaps half of that, because I am not putting together major international movies, that goes together with a fairly silent system!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 04-Jan-17   |  Permalink   |  23 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Data prices falling at last

I am glad to see that our data prices are finally beginning to fall.  They are still way too high compared to international prices, but for example, MTN now makes a 1 gig data bundle for R65 and 2 gigs for R99.  I think South Africa has some of the most expensive data in the world and I would certainly support the Twitter campaign #DataMustFall#DMF.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 15-Dec-16   |  Permalink   |  36 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
To do list

I have always designed pads for my staff over the years with reminders and to do lists, etc and I have just done a new one which I call “Today’s plan of attack”.  It is a pad for my staff to list the things that they need to do and priorities that they have to attend to.  I find these types of lists very useful, particularly when I am working on something and other ideas come up.  I don’t want to stop what I am doing, but I do need to make a note about the things that I need to do and to break them up in different lists – the things I need to do immediately as well as the things that would be nice to do that I don’t have to do now and I think that the pad as well as the index cards that I have recently created for my staff do a good job of that.   I find people that work on lists are more effective than those that don’t and those who believe that they are too bright and have too good a memory to need lists are invariably overrating their capabilities as well as their memory and in that regard I was inspired by a book called “Checklist Manifesto” by Dr Atul Gawande. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 13-Dec-16   |  Permalink   |  35 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Golf industry struggling, Nike pulls out, Adidas looking for a buyer

It has been a trend for many years now for golf courses around the world to close and for golf estates, like Blair Atholl, to run into financial problems.  Golf is an extremely expensive sport and there is no doubt that far too many golf courses, golf estates and all things golf have been established.  

In recent months we have seen Nike give up making clubs – so, even the players under sponsorship, such as Rory MciIroy and Tiger Woods, will no longer have any new Nike clubs to play with Nike pulling out of the business.  Adidas owns the Taylormade made brand and they have put that up for sale and most recently, pictured in the photograph alongside this article, Golfsmith, a large range of golf retail shops in the United States, has also gone bankrupt.  There seems to be no end of trouble for the golf industry and there is a long way still to go, in terms of rationalisation and losses, etc before one gets to a healthier position where only financially stable businesses and golf courses remain open.  The number of golf courses is reducing; the number of golf club manufacturers is reducing and we now also see retail golf shops going under.  Obviously, it is still a major international sport, but the over-capacity in the industry has been getting slowly eliminated over the last few years and it is almost as if that is now in its final stages. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 09-Dec-16   |  Permalink   |  42 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Check out people

I learnt a valuable lesson recently with a staff member we employed, only to discover how little work the staff member was doing.  That lesson is to always check out the references of the person.  I think there is a tendency, particularly within the legal profession in South Africa, for people to always believe it is going to cause offence or difficulty, to phone the previous employer for a reference.  Instead, we tend to automatically assume that the attorney or secretary is highly regarded in the workplace, well trained and worthy of hiring.  Often, what you get instead, is somebody else’s lemon – somebody that they could not wait to get rid of and that person leaves a trail of destruction, from one firm to another with each firm snapping them up and deciding not to phone the previous employer to find out whether the person is a good employee or not.  

I think due to my writing of my Legalnewsletter which attorneys can join at www.legalnewsletter.co.za, people have automatically assumed over the years that my staff members are all top class and well trained and so I have certainly lost staff on that basis too.  In one notable case, the employment agency phoned me up after about a week to say that the new attorney was furious, that the person they hired from my offices was incapable, had no idea of litigation and had no idea what a serious injury was either.  They asked if I would be so kind as to just give them a letter for the attorney who had hired her confirming that the secretary concerned had been trained in those fields.  I explained, in no uncertain terms, that firstly the staff member had been taken away from my firm without anybody phoning me in the first place, and that I was certainly not going to now, to try and protect the agent’s commission, give an endorsement.  I explained that the secretary concerned had worked in my bill of cost department, and had never worked in litigation and had never been trained in anything to do with litigation or serious injuries, because that is not the department in which she worked!  It is amazing how often people will exaggerate their role in their CV and prospective employers simply see a name, assume that everybody that comes from that firm has been well trained or is a superstar and snaps them up.  The reality is that every business has its weak employees and the better employees are normally well looked after and are not looking around for jobs.  

In any event, in my most recent reminder of this, we discovered to our bitter cost, when the staff member responsible for checking up references waited until the person had done a considerable amount of damage in a relatively short time, before she phoned up the previous employer.  The previous law firm in no time at all told us that they would never hire the individual ever again and as luck would have it, that individual is now off to a new law firm where they oversee even more files than they were at my firm!  An advocate friend of mine told me that the previous firm was probably laughing at us – and I said to him while it was true, the person concerned had spent 7 times longer at that firm than they did at my firm – so I am not sure how loud they would be laughing!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 06-Dec-16   |  Permalink   |  45 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
EFF threat to South Africa

I have written before on my blog that we must all be careful, when we get too excited about the trouble the EFF is giving Jacob Zuma.  Sometimes one is so keen to get rid of what is clearly the worst President South Africa has had since 1994 that we don’t really care who helps make him go.  One then falls into the hands of the Economic Freedom Fighters – the EFF led by Julius Malema.  There is nothing that they represent and stand for that would ever help South Africa or democracy in South Africa.   

The statements that Julius Malema makes are far more outrageous and more insane than any of the comments ever made by Donald Trump in America.  They are a small party now, so we all ignore them, but one of the big risks to South Africa in the future is if the EFF continues to grow and it is relatively easy for a party that does not lead anything to grow – after all, they have never been proved to be wrong, they have never been shown to be inept or corrupt, etc, because they have not actually been in power.  One hopes that the Magistrates and the courts take some of his hate speech seriously.  The things he says are completely unacceptable and none of us must forget that his idol, and the country from whom many of the EFF’s policies are followed are respectively Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe.  

Zimbabwe is a great lesson for South Africa as far as I am concerned – because it gives a road map of exactly what not to do when in charge of a country and it really shows you how stupid Julius Malema is, that everything that has failed in Zimbabwe essentially forms part of the policies of the EFF.  I would rather have the ANC in power for 200 years than the EFF in power for 2 years and one hopes that the EFF does not grow too much in popularity that the ANC is forced to move more to the left than it already is, in an effort not to lose power.  People forget that that is the job of a political party – to get power and to stay in power – and when they start losing their votes they will always shift their position.  

If the EFF continues to grow, even if they don’t get into power, it will force the ANC at some point to shift their policies on some of the issues.  If you are white, you can at least be comfortable with his latest statement that you are not about to be slaughtered right now – he said, “We are not calling for the slaughtering of white people, at least for now.”  The very fact that he can make such an outrageous statement is already playing the games that we have seen lead to genocide in Ruanda, etc, where talking about people as if they are cockroaches, etc, led to one group turning on the other and killing them, is frightening and as much as I have no regard for Jacob Zuma, I would still rather have him being President than Julius Malema.  

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 02-Dec-16   |  Permalink   |  43 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Phantom 4

I recently bought a Phantom 4 drone by DJI Technologies.  I was quite surprised at the recent shoot at my offices for the 2017 adverts that we were busy recording to see my advertising company using the same drone.  It is a great drone and it has a 4k camera, but I do think that better cameras are available for specialists, but on the other hand, with this one retailing for R25,000 in South Africa, perhaps at that price it is good enough.  I have a cheaper drone before, and by cheaper, I mean one that cost about R3,500 and it just was not anywhere near the class of this one. 

Unfortunately, when it comes to things like drones, you really have to spend quite a bit of money if you want to get one because the cheaper ones really don’t last very long, they don’t work very well and it is just really a waste of money.  The fancier ones are completely different and are capable of flying about 120 metres high – which means you lose sight of it long before it gets to that height and up to 2 km away, although in practice I have never flown mine further than about 700 metres away before losing contact with it.

They are amazing for taking all sorts of pictures – think of couples in front of a wedding chapel from a bit of height, staff in front of the offices (it would have helped if all my staff members were there when they filmed it and not just one-third of the staff) or for property sales, in terms of the house you are trying to sell or surveying a piece of land.  Apart from that, they are just good old fashioned fun for boys – and boys love their toys.  Obviously, as the years go by we will see the use of drones for more and more things – it is already very common to use them in sport – but I am noticing that they are starting to use them in more documentaries and adverts – that after all allows you to get the kind of footage that a few years ago you had to have hired a helicopter and a full crew to obtain.  These days, for R25,000, in South Africa or the equivalent of about R17,000 overseas, you can get a drone that films in 4k – and a few years ago not even movie cameras could film in 4k let alone your own drone!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 29-Nov-16   |  Permalink   |  46 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Video of Master Sabina winning Summer Cup

Master Sabina winning his second Summer Cup in a row on Saturday at Turffontaien racecourse.  Now a 9 time winner and the highest rated horse I have ever had.  Watch the gap he had to take when horses shifted across and blocked his path.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 28-Nov-16   |  Permalink   |  30 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Master Sabina wins the Summer Cup again

Master Sabina won the Summer Cup for me on Saturday for the 2nd year in a row.  Other than the Met and the July it is South Africa's most prestigious race and the biggest on the Highveld so its certainly something I am delighted about!

The race is one I will never forget.  I cannot recall any major feature race where the winner has come from so far back and had so many traffic issues to deal with and still gone on to win.  The horse who came third, Master Switch literally almost squeezed him out of the race but he kept his line and barged his way through a gap that didn't exist.  In winning Master Sabina beat the July Handicap winner from this year also.  A big thanks to the jockey Gavin Lerena and the trainer Geoff Woodruff.

Sporting Post described the race this way, "A heartstopping burst through a nearly non-existent gap by Summer Cup double hero Master Sabina....Saturday’s  tackle buster, reminiscent of Springbok rugby legend Danie Gerber in full cry, will go down as his bravest victory to date"

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Saturday 26-Nov-16   |  Permalink   |  45 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It

Johannesburg based attorney specializing in personal injury matters including Road Accident Fund claims and medical negligence matters. My interests include golf, reading and the internet and the way it is constantly developing. I have a passion for life and a desire for less stress!
Have you been injured in a motor accident?
Recent Settlements
Lumbar spine compression fractures R2 500 000.00
Severe hip fracture requiring total hip replacements R3 305 000.00
Head injury with disfiguring facial scaring of a young female R4 000 000.00
Whiplash and compression fracture of the spine R4 000 000.00
Broken Femora R1 914 416.00
Broken Femur and Patella R770 881.15
Loss of Support for two minor children R2 649 968.00
Fracture of the right Humerus, fracture of the pubi rami, abdominal injuries, head injury R4 613 352.95
Fracture of the right femur, Fracture of the right tibia-fibula R1 200 000.00
Broken Jaw, Right Shoulder Injury, Mild head injury R1 100 000.00
Degloving injuries to the hips, legs and ankle R877 773.00
Head injury R 2 734 295.12
Fractured pelvis R1 355 881.53
Damaged tendons in left arm R679 688.03
Fractured left hand R692 164.48
Amputated right lower leg with loss of income R3 921 000.00
Fractured left foot R600 000.00
Head injury and multiple facial fractures R5 000 000.00
Head injury, compound fracture right femur, right tib and fib fracture, and injury to the spleen R4 529 672.06
Head injury, multiple facial fractures, collapsed lung and a fracture to the right frontal bone R2 890 592.77
Loss of support R5 144 000.00

 


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