Saturday, November 30, 2013

Musical interlude of the day

Christmas season has started.

Kids banging cans and "singing" are going around asking for pesos

And carolers and local bands also are making the rounds seranading you in the evening.

The "symbol" of Christmas here in the Philippines is the Christmas star.

and this is a traditional song

Translation here.

The blowing wind is cold
Every feeling is so joyful
The beating of the heart in the chest
Is like a gift from heaven

The sound of Christmas is all over
Everyone has vitality
There's no sadness
The joy is perfect

The sound of Christmas prevails
Inside every home
The sights are joyful
The breeze has a song

The sound of Christmas is all over
Everyone has vitality
There's no sadness
The joy is perfect

The sound of Christmas prevails
Inside every home
The sights are joyful
The breeze has a song

Nepotism in middle earth

Article via TORN about Bard the Bowman includes this factoid about two of Bard's "children":

although his "son" is John Bell, a professional actor,

the two girls, Mary and Peggy are the daughters of actor James Nesbitt (Bofur), who not only brought his daughters to work in New Zealand, they found jobs too. 
Jackson did a similar thing in the previous triology when he placed his kids (photo) in minor rolls and in the ending scene of ROTK had "Sam" greeted by his own daughter (with "Rosie" carrying her daughter dressed to be his second child, a boy)

Stories below the fold

HERE is the article about drug companies pushing Plan B even though it doesn't work for women if you are over 167 pounds or have a BMI over 30...which is 20 to 30% of women...

Follow the money?


The Pope has been blasted for condemning capitalism, yet as I mention many times he is talking from a third world perspective, where bribery, low salaries and corruption mean workers aren't paid a decent salary and the rich live high on the hog.

Father Z also notes this point might have been overlooked because of poor translation of the original text:
Over at the other post a commentator pointed out that the official English rendering of EG 54 makes Spanish “por si’ mismo” into “inevitably”, but that it really means “by itself”.
Let’s swap in the “by itself” and read it again.
In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories ["trickle down economics"] which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will by itself succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world.
follow the activists trying to hijack the pope's nuances into fitting their agenda.

A similar kerfuffle in the last week was "wiminpriest" activists interpreting a catacomb picture of a woman with raised hands as showing a womanpriest raising her hands, thereby proving the early church had women as priests.

HELLO: Wikipedia is your friend: the "Orans" position of the hands to pray was common in classical times and still used by Pentecostals in parts of eastern Europe today.

Research articles often are wrong.

Nature article on how to blow the whistle.

I always thought that letting folks discuss it on line (as we do in journal club meetings in our hospitals) might help.

Maybe they should ask Jim Robinson to set up a similar site for medical articles...that's how they and LGF caught the forged document that destroyed Dan Rather's career.

Libertarian Instapundit often supports free sex, but today links to this article:

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Sexual Desire Forges Lasting Relationships. “People often think of love and lust as polar opposites—love exalted as the binder of two souls, lust the transient devil on our shoulders, disturbing and disruptive. Now neuroscientists are discovering that lust and love work together more closely than we think. Indeed, the strongest relationships have elements of both.”
 Catholics have often argued the same thing: that a sexual act forms a link between the people involved, because we are our bodies (i.e. not a "ghost in a machine", an idea that implies what we do with our bodies has nothing to do with our souls) therefore, what we do with our bodies affects the entire person.

and, as Andrew Greeley noted,
Catholic paraphernalia are merely hints of a deeper and more pervasive religious sensibility that inclines Catholics to see the Holy lurking in creation. The world of the Catholic is haunted by a sense that the objects, events, and persons of daily life are revelations of Grace.
Greeley has also written that god often sends sexual desire to mess up our narrowly scripted lives, and has written a bunch of R rated novels to show examples.

So CS Lewis' famous line: Pain is a megaphone to rouse a deaf world" could be better written as "lust is a megaphone that tells us of the glory and compassion of god" and is one way that God uses to change our lives in unexpected ways.

come to think of it, that's what happened to Lewis himself...who was indeed "surprised by Joy"...

also from Instapundit:
Media feasting on Bush ‘fake’ turkey claim; false story still repeated 10 years on. The image of Bush serving Thanksgiving dinner to the troops was so unacceptably wholesome, the press was forced to hallucinate a flaw in order to maintain its own sanity.
Bush was joking around, as he often did, and the troops were all laughing.
It was a joke, twisted by the PC MSM to ridicule the president.

The real story is that it was very dangerous at that time to land in Baghdad, since several planes had been shot at....but Bush did it anyway, and the troops were very very happy to see him. And that story is not one that the MSM wanted to remember either.

actually, I first became aware of his trip when one freeper posted "guess who is eating in our mess" on FreeRepublic, whose monitor quickly pulled the thread because it might have alerted Iraqi insurgents lurking on the site to shoot down his plane when he left.

for later reading: StrategyPage: Peace in our time or another ploy

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

No, it's not a holiday here in the Philippines.

In the past we went to Manila to celebrate with friends, but this year we are busy and staying home.

And our dinner?

Shrimp in coconut milk, served over brown rice, with mangos and bananas for dessert.



oh yes: We leave the heads on the shrimp. Lolo sucks the heads, but I give them to the cat to eat.

Create your own ugly Christmas sweater



Spratlys: Why it's important

aside from the petroleum/natural gas deposits under the sea floor, there is another reason why China would like to control it.

Belmont club has this map:

For supertankers with deep drafts, the lane is actually smaller, because of the coral reefs and islands;

and of course they are trying to take over all lands that any Chinese government has owned over the last 2000 years...

they claim the Philippines, but actually it was part of the Caliphate, not china, so we are probably okay:but Viet Nam was once a Chinese colony, as was much of Korea, so you can see the problem.

and the dirty little secret is that China did not control the West Philiipine sea during the last 400 years: It was controlled by Chinese pirates, who bribed the Chinese officials to look the other way

pdf here has more.
and it's not just the WestPhilippine sea where there is a narrow sealane that makes ships vulnerable to pirates: 

and the BBC notes that it has increase in the last several years.

Another big danger point is off Malaysia, which is why Singapore has conscription and it's own army/Navy.

Insomnia downloads of the day

for nature lovers:

Among the meadow people

Fanny Kimble's diary of living on a southern plantation

for less depressing listening:

Fables for the Frivious

and Benchley's Of All Things

for a comment on contemporary affairs:

The Emperor's new clothes

and if you can't afford a couple hundred bucks to attend the latest new age seminar telling you how to get rich, just download:

Thoughts are things.

Yes, if you really think positively, maybe your life will become rich and successful (just ignore that Category 4 typhoon heading straight for your house)


a lot of the librivox type books are also on youtube, along with other books that haven't yet been notice by the copyright cops.

Percy Jackson is there (great for inspiring your kids to learn about Greek mythology)

as is Herodotus (in case you want to read the original story about those sexy Spartans)

Stories below the fold

According to the US Internal Revenue Service, a foreign athlete must pay a 30 percent income tax on earnings made in the US including compensation for a game, endorsements, sale of merchandise, royalty or other income related to an athletic event.
I wonder how many jobs were lost in Vegas because of the tax code.

Related item: US tax code taxes US citizens income overseas.

No big deal here: we don't have an income except our pensions, and last year the accountant told us not to file last year since we haven't paid tax for five years, and it costs us 280 dollars a year to have him file.

yet if there was a simple tax code, we would probably file it anyway.

The problem: The IRS wants the bank to report miniscule amounts of interest/income to them. Since the law insists that "overseas" income be reported, presumably the 60 dollars a year interest from my three bank accounts here in the Philippines should be reported. That probably takes 20 dollars of paperwork for the bank.

And if the small family business was still in Lolo's name, we would have to pay double taxes...but like most OFW, he had a relative "own" and run it while he was in the US, and so he doesn't "own" it.

Given the typhoons (two out of the last 6 harvests destroyed by typhoons, plus buildings and our car/machinery damaged in the latest typhoon in October) for the last two months, we have been subsidizing the business and using our pension for living expenses.

If the IRS goes against Lolo for this, I suspect he would renounce his citizenship, since he is a dual citizen as a "Balikbayan" (returning citizen) too.

As for me, as a foreigner, I can't own land or business here by local law, so it doesn't affect me.

Most American expats here who run businesses are married to locals, so they put the business in the name of their spouse. Others, like myself, have only a small pension as income.

But I can understand why some Americans who retire here will renounce their citizenship in fear of having the IRS confiscate their life savings because someone made a mistake on the complicated forms.

Whoops. Found this at the end of a story:

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Shhhh...don't dare even mention the story or they will come after you...


The Anchoress mentions another religious blogger on Patheos.

Somehow this strikes me as a bad idea: it makes all the major religious/atheist blogs vulnerable to hacking and/or having the entire site being taken down by the NSA/copyright police if one of them prints the wrong thing.

This fad is nonsense: you may be ingesting a lot of bacteria or viruses, especially if you had prolonged labor or a premature infant.
Approximately half of second-trimester placentas harbor organisms within the chorionic plate.
link 2 says it's only 30 percent of "normal" deliveries, but link3 notes that culture techniques might miss some infections.

and despite the hype that it is done by "primitive" people: not among those I worked with. Our midwives in Africa buried them.


To more kitties rescued from the street...they look just like the kitty we rescued two weeks ago...
one is covered with paint, so may not live.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Art lesson for the day

How to draw a cartoon turkey.

headsup Presurfer

Stuff around the net

Mainly bookmarked for later reading.

PapaFrancisco says when consumerism fills the heart, you can't see your brother, you look away when your greed destroys the environment, and sometimes you may even be willing to destroy the child in your womb who gets in the way of your getting more stuff.

Heh. It's only a matter of time until the liberals discover he is not the PC pope they wanted.

and oh yes: he adds that if you really knew god personally, you'd be joyful, not a sourpuss...

Ring around the sun... we know about the asteroid belt, but now they have found a ring of dust near Venus.

WAGD: Astronomy cast has a podcast on solar flares.


What was the demon behind the CT school shooting? Lanza destroyed his hard drive, so maybe we'll never know.

But one commenter read the entire report and has some disturbing observations.
The rage of abused children is a common problem: One of our nurses on "the res" said most of the men in her AA group had been sexually abused by relatives or in residential schools...

and the subtext is that it is almost impossible to get a relative into emergency psychiatric hospitalization when he starts threatening violence (been there, done that)...


Fossilized sap shows oxygen levels were lower in the past.

Amber as a time machine.
I never realized that amber was beautiful until I visited the shop of a silversmith and saw necklaces that used high quality amber. (Most "amber" I had seen was low quality or fake). And the Baltic Amber trade in neolithic times was pretty brisk.

Radio4 podcasts on the Gettysburg address and the anniversary of the deaths of CSLewis/Huxley.


Anderson Cooper now is popular in the Philippines.Actually, he is fair and a good reporter, but a lot of locals complain that he compared the Philippine response to that in Japan, ignoring the differences in terrain and wealth and infrastructure (not to mention culture).

And a lot of commenters are suggesting better housing might have helped: well, yes and no: In a 20 foot storm surge, you could drown in your two story house.

And the answer to the flimsy huts is decent concrete houses.

In our farm area, when I first visited in 1990, most houses were bamboo or prosperity increased, most of these were replaced with ugly but substantial concrete block houses with tin roof. So the answer to poor housing is prosperity.

In our area, the prosperity is partly from land reform, and infrastructure help to improve small farm income (e.g. organic rice is sold at a higher price than regular rice, and the better roads mean it's easy to send veggies to Manila to sell)
But the increased prosperity is also because the kids moved to Manila or worked in Saudi and sent money to the family to build a new house and for their siblings school fees.

Zimbabwe tells foreign shops to close.
the shops will then be given to locals by the gov't.

The paper said Nigerians and the Chinese who flooded the country in recent years were likely to be the biggest casualties as they set up shops dealing in various wares in almost every town.
uh oh: he's made the UK angry and now is going to make China angry...

These moves are to bribe his supporters help the local economy...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Stories below the fold

My film review of Catching Fire is now at BNN.

The FreeLibrary podcast discusses Blackwater.

‘Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries’
These, in the day when heaven was falling,
The hour when earth’s foundations fled,
Followed their mercenary calling
And took their wages and are dead.
Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth’s foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.

The wars of Africa are often blamed on mercenaries, but the dirty little secret is that if they had hired a couple of good mercenaries to stop the wars in Central Africa, instead of UN Peacekeepers, maybe one or two million people would still be alive. 


Welcome to Cuba.

how dare he write what he sees

TheAncientStandard remembers when medieval Afghanistan was under the Ghurid dynasty and not run by 8th century inspired bigots:
Archaeologists believe the city was a cosmopolitan area, home to Muslims, Jews, and Christians, who were able to live harmoniously despite their differences.
related item: unsung heroes trying to eliminate Polio in Afghanstan.

The Philippines rejoices because Pacman made a comeback...but now the tax police are after his winnings.

The tax case arose from the alleged failure of Pacquiao’s accountant to report in his income tax returns (ITR) the multi-million-dollar taxes collected by the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from his prize winnings for the years 2008 to 2009.

so he didn't pay Philippine taxes on the money taken by the US tax collectors???

On line polls are garbage because they allow activists to manipulate the results.

Guess who is doing this to manipulate the Vatican? Father Z has the story.

CDC has reports on homicide, suicide, infant deaths etc. this week.

The report on homicide includes ways to combat it: But with Obama pushing the meme of victimhood (ergo justifying violence), he is undermining the public health attempt to fight this social problem.

And the press'/media glamourizing homicide/suicide as justis not helping.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Stuff from my other blogs

From my medical blog:


Kohl was used in Egypt since pre dynastic times to protect the eyes from disease (presumably  trachoma, which is spread by flies. Ever see those photos of starving babies whose eyes are covered with flies? Maybe the poisonous kohl did discourage this from happening).

Polio in Syria
From strategyPage:

apparently the anti Polio campaign by the Taliban, which has killed half a dozen docs and health care workers in Pakistan/Afghanistan, is now spreading the disease with their jihadis

Garbage in Garbage out: problems with guidelines

NYTimes article about the "new" cholesterol guidelines.
the heart attack and stroke rates have gone down, so the old data is out of date, so they calculate your risk to be too high.
and they don't know the reason behind this change.
and sometimes they calculate it wrong, assuming everything goes on a straight line, when in reality it does not.  

Flattened heads: Not just for Indians

Archeology magazine has a photo of a head flattened by using a splint.
 No, it is not an alien skull...(it's from Germany and probably from a lady associated with the Huns).

Mercury dangers

EnglishHistoricalAuthors blog asks: Was Charles II killed by poisoning (or maybe accidentally poisoned?) Like a lot of folks back then he was interested in making gold from base metals (i.e.alchemy):

Answering the really important question

How did Glamdring, Orcrist and Sting end up in a troll hole?

either men hid them (and they ended up plundered) or else the witch king of Agmar got it when he controlled Eriador, and the trolls got it from that land after it fell.

and a related question: how did the Great Goblin recognize the swords? 

Maybe they read the runes...or did orcs spend their evenings around a fire drinking beer and telling stories of the good old days?

related item:

Where did they get the names for the Hunger games?
Via Instapundit

add these things to percy Jackson, and you realize that teen fiction is re introducing them to the legends of the ancient world.

Peace in our time

The US will now bribe Iran to do something or other.

And the message of peace has been received by China.

 other news item:

and excuse my cynicism for blaming our most recent typhoon on "global warming".

Spiked has a very sarcastic essay on the blamers here.

terrible? Yes. Unusual? No.

And even if the death toll reaches 10 thousand, it will be a fraction of those who died in Burma a few years ago: a disaster that wasn't manipulated by the press or pushed by the one world order to increase their power.

Burma is also one of the few countries that is actually persecuting their Muslim minority, and that too is ignored because they keep the western press out of there, and of course China is their friend.

the good old days

what would Google look like in the 1980's?


headsup Archeoblog.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Family news

We went to church this morning, but didn't stay for the Eucharist procession after Mass (to celebrate the feast of Christ the King).

Lolo is much better but has trouble walking more than a block, and even then walks slower than he used to do (up to two years ago, he jogged a mile a day slowly)...

The boys are cleaning our glass ceiling below our skylight. We have a roof with a second raised gabled roof (aka ridge vent) to allow circulation, and part of it is made with clear plastic to let in light. So we don't need to use lights in the livingroom/dining room during the day. However, it allows dirt etc. to enter, and when it is stormy or we have a typhoon, it lets in some of the rain.

Hence the smoked glass ceiling areas are very very dirty.

I had some places to link with, mainly science articles like THIS (hey, I didn't know he could detect neutrinos) but am too lazy to do it.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Related rant

Excuse me for being cynical but all that stuff about "third world" activists wanting richer nations to aid poor countries ignores that the aid will simply enrich the politicians in these countries.

Even in Yolanda, there are those who steal supplies: the looters got headlines, but the real looters are the politicians.

A lot of the relief supplies are being taken, partly because the supplies are dumped there and not being distributed properly.

US Marines instructed not to let politicians touch relief supplies.

rumors that some politicians have been taking them and repackaging them with their names on the packages, and other rumors say they are putting them in warehouses to sell later. (something that happened a few years ago when rice was bought to replace the rice crops destroyed by a typhoon...and much of the stored rice rotted).

GetRealPhilippines report says that Anderson Cooper is reporting things that the government is trying to cover up... they also are quoting ABC news about the uncoordinated relief response

Occupy had another scam

This article thinks it's wonderful that Occupy Wall street scammed a lot of people out of money by "buying" the debt and then telling those who owed it they are off the hook.

The project is run by Strike Debt, an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street, which believes that people shouldn't go into debt for necessities like education, healthcare, and housing. Through the Rolling Jubilee project, its goal isn't just to help out individuals but to highlight the fact that it's legal to "trade in people’s misfortune."
In other words, if you play by the rules, you are stupid.

If you buy a modest home you can afford, you are a fool: why not get a huge mortgage you can't afford and then cry when they try to kick you out.

And if you decide to get a nursing degree at the local community college instead of studying feminist studies at an ivy league college, because you don't want to go 100 thousand in debt for a degree that won't get you a job, ditto.

More fool you: working hard studying biochemistry and pharmacology when you could be floating with easy classes for four years.

Note that stuff about medical debt?

What happens is that you end up with docs quitting, like I did, because they couldn't make those huge malpractice insurance payments required to stay in practice (in my last year of private practice, my insurance bill was equal to my salary, and my unpaid bills was twice that amount)

or maybe increasing their prices so that they make enough profit off of those who pay to keep the practice afloat.

Yes, some people are poor, and need help (I usually wrote off these patients). But what about the one who "borrowed" a thousand dollars for new furniture even though she owed me only a couple hundred for her last baby?

Yes, one of the problem is that now docs are hired by big medicine businesses, but that just means they will increase the price of an office visit to cover the deadbeats (and to make up for the Medicare payments that just went down to get money for Obamacare: something that I haven't seen written about in the press).

Poetry and CS Lewis

Lots of things on the net right now celebrating the death of CSLewis, who now has a memorial in the Poet's corner of Westminster Abbey.

Brian Sibley has written a BBC radio program about Lewis
bbc iPlayer link

he has several blogposts on Lewis' books including this one that discusses adapting them for radio.

he includes Andrew Skilleter's illustration of Aslan singing the world into being:

that, of course, is poetry, not science:

or as Dante put it: the Love that moves the sun and other stars.


Poet Holly Ordway has an essay about Lewis' influence on her:

In Narnia, I found that the Incarnation was not a bizarre idea, out of place in the world. It infused the very atmosphere; I breathed it in and was strengthened by it. That God would join His creatures by becoming part of creation Himself seemed, here in Narnia, as fitting as the fact that winter’s end brought crocuses peeking brightly through half-melted snow; as right as the fact that sunlight warms chilled limbs and water quenches thirst.
In Narnia . . . but here, in real life? It might not be true that God was involved with His world; it might not be likely that Jesus was God incarnate . . . but it was no longer unimaginable.
From The Sword and the Cross – forthcoming, Ignatius Press, 2014

the UKGuardian reviews a newly published book with more essays by Lewis.

Aristotle was right. Poetry presents οια αν γενοιτο, things that might be – it recombines elements which belong to the real, and to appreciate poetry involves at every moment a knowledge of those elements and therefore of the real.

Poetry and Hsien

David Warren has an essay musing on Chinese calliography and poetry.

Classical Chinese is sung, and whispered, but also painted. The brush is the thing. “It grows from your hand.” Whereas, a pen is a crutch, held always at an angle. One must lean against the stalk of a pen. Step one: learn to feel the tip of the brush, as it dances on the paper; as the tip beyond your fingertips; as it stands, and kneels, and bows, and twirls, and leaps from one character to another. You are the mind and the brush is your body. But not in any Cartesian sense, since the mind and the body are one.
Perhaps it is only one of those falsely “recovered memories,” for I have just been looking at an old book containing translations from that Wang Wei, and it has suddenly reminded of the character, hsien. It is a visual portmanteau: framed with the character for a “gate,” with the character for “moon” inserted in the open space between the two “doors” and under the “bridge” of that “gate” character. It is one of several plausible words for “idle” in classical Chinese. The dictionary adds: “at ease, sauntering, leisurely, quiet, unoccupied.”

no, I'm too old to even learn Tagalog, even though it is an easier language than ChiKaranga, which I learned in Africa, and I am not subtle enough to start studying calliography.

But the Met has a pdf on Chinese calliagraphy if you are interested.

and the poem quoted is not about viewing nature, but has echoes of Buddhist philosophy. and iChing uses the word hsien also with a subtle meaning.

mainly bookmarked for later reading.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Podcasts around the net

InOurTime podcast this week discusses Pocahontas

and HistoryExtra discusses JFK and the wife of Henry VII

and for Advent, if you like warm and fuzzy type catholic spirituality PrayAsYouGo has a podcast.

Not my cup of tea, as the saying goes. But after our typhoon and the suffering of those in the Visayas, I am a bit short of temper at any fluffy religion, be it this or the new age type.

and you should hear me explode at the "survivor" type programs...been there, done that...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mystery of the day

the 4000 year old mystery of the revolving statue solved.

The "WTF" story of the day

Father Z notes that the attorney general is pressing forward a case to prove international treaties trump the constitution.

the problem? it was a prank against the "other woman" in a marital dispute, not a terrorist attack...

here is the quote of the day.

“Domestic disputes resulting from marital infidelities and culminating in a thumb burn are appropriately handled by local law enforcement authorities,” Mr. Clement wrote. “Ms. Bond’s assault against her husband’s paramour did not involve stockpiling chemical weapons, engaging in chemical warfare” and the like, he added.
 the conservative CATO institute has more here.

It took me awhile to find what "dangerous chemical" she used: this article states it was Potassium dichromate, a common laboratory reagent which like a lot of chemicals can burn the skin and is toxic when ingested.

But it is a pretty compound, and has an article on how to grow it to make pretty orange crystals.

Just grow a couple and you too can be arrested as a bioterrorist!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Stuff below the fold

If you make a comment on an article and sign in with your facebook page, they get your "permission" to include  your email and facebook friends.

Who needs the NSA when you have facebook and google?

I usually use discus or twitter to comment, which are linked to my public email page and have no friends, but now those links aren't working well either


Ten outstanding loos for world toilet day.
Spiked notes: They are pushing outhouses, but what folks really want is decent flush toilets (and to be rich enough to afford them, I might add).


The "word of the year": Selfie. 

Selfie pipped 'twerk' and other increasing popular words such as 'showrooming', 'binge watch', 'bitcoin', 'bedroom tax', 'schmeat' and 'olinguito' - a small furry mammal discovered in August - to the top prize.

if you have teenagers, they do it all the time:
It means taking your own photo with a cell phone held at arm's of teens showing Pope Francis how it's done.

Photo: AP -  


Ice swimmers carry Olympic torch 

Doris Lessing has died. 
No, I didn't enjoy her books about depressed women seeing no meaning in life and reason to live, nor did I appreciate her love of communism.
However, she did change her mind on the latter, and even in later life blasted those westerners who loved Mugabe.


Film News: the latest "hunger games" episode, like the Empire strikes back, is better than the first one.
and, like Harry Potter, the third book will be in two parts.
it opens this weekend in the Philippines, and Ruby can't wait. I wonder if anyone realizes how this is rewriting the "scripts" for girls. No, they can't really be wonderwoman, but they can identify with Katnis...and book 3 has a lot of subtle parts about PTSS...wonder if they will cover these issues...

and Hobbit spoiler: HeirsOfDurin has a report on a German fan magazine article that mentions they don't kill Smaug until film 3....

Political joke of the day: 


Philippine news

Some clueless headlines complain about the "lack of preparedness", which was true, but considering the width of the typhoon and the number of people affected, the death toll is quite low. I mean, Burma's cyclone killed 100 thousand (partly due to the gov't blocking aid), so if the Philippines lost less than 10 thousand, it is a miracle.

International help is here, and welcome.
and locals are doing their own part, with local aid being sent, and families carrying food etc. to relatives

The main problem was that the mayor of Tacloban, like the mayor of New Orleans/LA governor, didn't get his people evacuated. PNoy, unlike Bush, is pointing fingers to the real culprit, but unlike Bush has actually gone there to visit right away.

Slate has an article about what Americans should donate.
Boxes filled with Santa costumes, 4-inch high heels, and cocktail dresses landed in tsunami-affected areas. In some places, open tubes of Neosporin, Preparation H, and Viagra showed up. The aid community has coined a term for these items that get shipped from people’s closets and medicine cabinets as SWEDOW—Stuff We Don’t Want.

I suspect a lot of these donations will end up in the ukayukay (used clothing kiosks)...which is okay...In the US, this made me upset, but now I realize that the poor can afford 20 to 70 cents for high class used clothes that will last (in contrast to spending 70 cents to 4 dollars for new ones made in China of poor quality).
Once in awhile, Joy will find clothing that will fit me in the Manila the kiosk owners tend to sell smaller clothing, especially for kids.

It's a problem for me: when some of the professional beggars asked me for clothing after our typhoon, I was stuck: I'm a size 18 and most of them were size 6...but I did give them a few smaller teeshirts and blankets.

And then there is this headline: Japanese forces back in Leyte.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

art history on line

another good series LINK

I like this pope

If you read what the pope is supposed to say as filtered by the press, you are missing the whole picture.

Part of the Pope's statement. ...remembering the Macabees (aka the guys behind Chanukah).when they were  being forced to deny their religion to honor the king.

he pointed out the dangers of globalization that destroys culture, while also adding this:

Pope Francis cautioned against the attitude of wanting “be like everyone else,” which he referred to as an “adolescent progressivism.”
“What do you think?” he pressed, “that today human sacrifices are not made? Many, many people make human sacrifices and there are laws that protect them.”
then her returned to his theme: God loves us.
“He always waits for us,” stated the Pope, “He loves us so much and He forgives us when we, repentant of any step, of some small step in this spirit of worldliness, go to Him, God of faithfulness before his people, that are not faithful.”

I hate to post so much religion on my blog, but as one who has worked hands on in the third world, I LIKE THIS POPE.

Much of what is written about him is filtered via the left/right wars of the elites of the west, who are taking his words out of context, but his approach is that of a hands on pastor who knows the reality on the ground of the third world...

And he even has a word about the culture of pork that echoes the blogposts of the old leftie Bishop Cruz:
Pope Francis... said Christians who donated money to the church but stole from the state were leading a "double life" and were sinners who should be punished.
 he's better watch it: The first guy who said that was a sardonic Jewish carpenter who came to a bad end...

Dog news of the day



Photo series on the UKTelegraph


At Librivox: Lad, a Dog


The bad news: Our little white dog Angel got run down by our car when it pulled into the garage...only her toes got run over, but she was pulled under the car before I yelled for the driver to stop. (All the dogs "greet" the cars when they come in and she apparently didn't get out of the way fast enough, and was too small for the driver to see).

The good news: Smashed toes are not broken, no major injuries, and the vet sutured the deep cuts on her face (probably from hitting the underside of the car). She is back with her puppies, wearing a plastic collar to keep her from removing the stitches in her face.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Stuff around the net

Want to understand Chinese History? Try reading the Godfather.

Phillip Jenkins reads a NYTimes article on the immigrant communities in Paris and notes that it mentions the Evangelical revival at work in immigrant communities.

Irish Monks and the stories of the Trojan war.

via Les Femmes:

an Aida flash mob.

but I prefer this version: 


Family news

The good news is that it is sunny, so the harvest is going okay...

Late last night, the dogs were noisy, barking at the men leaving the new restaurant/bar down the street. So at 4 am, when they again began barking, I went out to tell them to keep quiet and found five young men sitting at the kitchen table.

Joy had hired them to work in the vegetable gardens, since the farmers who usually worked there part time were busy either harvesting or plowing under their destroyed rice crops to plant another crop as soon as possible. So I made sure they had coffee and some fish with their rice while they sat around waiting to get taken to work.

We did manage to harvest part of our rice, so we aren't hit as badly as some areas. And our rice mill/drier housing was destroyed/deroofed, but the machines were not.

The real problem now is that lack of a pickup truck to do deliveries. We have a 2 ton truck, but it's too big for small deliveries, the jeep is good for farm work but not fast enough for city driving, and my husband's beloved BMW is too small. So it looks like we'll have to buy another pickup truck, which we can't afford...and another problem is that if one buys a used truck, it could be one damaged by the flood and sold as being in good condition, and then finding out later when it dies. Sigh.

If we were hit this badly by a signal 3 typhoon, you can see how devestated those hit by the supertyphoon are.

update: StrategyPage has a good summary of the supertyphoon.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Cat item of the day

Recent medical posts

links from my (new) medical blog:

Mercury dangers

Sleep deprivation
 King Alfred's Piles

New treatment for wear and tear arthritis? 

Air pollution in China

Stuff around the net

Mainly bookmarked for later reading.

The "WAGD" article of the day:
A new genotype of Tb making folks sick in NYC jails/homeless shelters. The good news: It is sensitive to antibiotics.


Iran: Bombs or Butter - 11/14/2013
Jim and Austin talk about the failed Iranian negotiations in Geneva.
MP3 Download

Spooky NSA - 10/31/2013
Jim and Austin discuss recent disclosures about the NSA. N ot surprisingly they have a different take on it than others and dredge up the ghost of Frank Church.
MP3 Download


The "emotional support animal" problem on airlines:

“It’s becoming a big problem,” said Marcie Davis, founder of International Assistance Dog Week. “I’ve seen people bring on pets and try to pass them off as an emotional support or service dog. It’s not appropriate and it’s not safe.”...

“Assistance dogs are trained not to bark in public, not to go smelling other dogs or people,” she said. “I’ve had my dog attacked in multiple situations. Honestly, I understand that there’s some value that people need an emotional assistance dog. But I think a lot of this is that people love their dogs and think they feel like if you have your dog, why can’t I have mine?”

Do we live in the matrix?

In Buddhism, reality is an illusion, so they would say yes.
Christianity/Judism/Islam says God made the world, and the material world is real and can be observed and analyzed by men using logic, and these ideas are behind modern science.

PopMech advises you on which light bulb to use to replace your old ones.

Well, I really worry about mercury pollution from the newer CFL lights, which seem to burn out faster than the old fashioned cheaper bulbs (which are hard to find here). The newer LED ones are expensive, but might help in the electric bill...I have bought one for the hallway, and so far so good...depends if they too burn out in 3 months.

Family news

We are fine.

Lolo managed to go to church...this was the first time since we got hit by the smaller typhoon in October, and he caught influenza and was pretty sick.

Me, I suffer from boredom and aches and pains but am okay.

Chano pulled his back out again and is flat in bed. Joy is busy busy, and Ruby is also busy with her youth group at their church.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Factoid of the day

Maybe kids avoid greens because it is an inborn survival skill...

it is a way to avoid wicked plants that can kill you..


altogether now: I don't like green food...

Factoid of the day

 IKEA donated more to help the Philippine typhoon victims than China.


The Japanese English news had a segment on how local folks are taking buses down to southern Luzon with rice, water and supplies for their relatives. All the local TV programs and celebrities are raising money.

StarTrib article on the FilAm resonse

Joy's relatives in the Visayas lost everything, so when Ruby decided to send some of her private money to charities helping those suffering, her mom suggested she sent it to their relatives instead. 

If you are wondering how a kid has private money: she designed and sold tee shirts...

so am I donating money? No, because I am on a pension and gave a lot  of my extra money to help local folks whose homes and possessions were damaged in our smaller typhoon. Sigh. I'd love to be there helping, but I don't have the energy for such things anymore.

Podcasts of the week

FLP usually has podcasts by PC authors who write about the struggles of obese lesbians in the inner city.

But this week, the interview Ann Pratchett about her new book about a happy marriage.
Time magazine says she is influential, but don't ask me...I'm more into the Terry Pratchett type novels.

More authors on sidebar.

If you are into art history, Yale has a course about art on youtube

There are several other art history courses there too.


Astronomy cast is also on line for star gazing geeks...this one discusses the ring of fire, and why we are so prone to earthquakes, volcanos and tsunamis..

and of course, don't forget to download History According to Bob.

Religious stuff below the fold

Attention Art Bell:

Does the Mafia in Italy plan to eliminate the Pope?

Professor Podles also notes:
While I was researching my book on sexual abuse in the Church, I saw many indications that the abuse was intertwined with organized crime: drug dealing, prostitution of male teenagers, and money laundering.

A certain sardonic carpenter called this "wolves in sheep's clothing"... sociopaths use trusted organizations to cover their deeds...

update: Reuters article on this.

It's not just the Italians: Iran's mullahs are making a lot of money too.


US Bishops still oppose Obamacare's assault on religious freedom.

But don't worry: the press says it's an old story and won't mention it.

But the new ads might make more than the pious barf at how the government is promoting certain lifestyles.
Annica Benning says this controversial ad for ObamaCare “portray[s] women as giddy, sex-starved and desperate”:
Amy Runyon-Harms, executive director of ProgressNow Colorado, defended them, saying: “People get upset when you portray women as independent.”
That is interesting — independence can now be defined based on sexual promiscuity?
Yes: This is your government using your tax payments (actually from Colorado taxpayers) to promote a behavior that spreads disease.

From the Guttmacher organization:
The total estimated burden of the nine million new cases of these STDs that occurred among 15-24-year-olds in 2000 was $6.5 billion (in year 2000 dollars). 
and the government's HealthyPeople site notes
The cost of STDs to the U.S. health care system is estimated to be as much as $15.9 billion annually.4 B
in contrast, the Pope points out the importance of families in societies that promote radical individualism, and contrasts the "throw away" culture of MeMeMe generation with the life that god blesses:
The pontiff recalled the parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, “were married in conditions much poorer than ours, some in time of war, or post-war, and some emigrated, like my parents . Where did they get their strength from? From the certainty that the Lord was with them , that their family is blessed by God in the sacrament of marriage, and blessed is the mission of giving birth to children and educating them. Based on these assurances they survived even the most severe trials. They were simple, but real certainties, which formed of the pillars that supported their love.
 He links the importance of family and marriage in contrast to modern individualism. --------------------------------
The real problem goes beyond promoting unhealthy lifestyles or the idea that religious freedom can be discarded...

Reality check: the under states the danger: the law allows the bureaucrats to make much broader decisions for individuals...

If you remember, the original law was only passed after Obama promised not to force abortion/birth control payments on believers, but then he appointed pro abortion types to his panel of experts, who promptly decided it should be part of the coverage, so he can claim it's not his fault.

the problem: it goes beyond allowing non elected experts to interfere with religion. It allows non elected "specialists" to decide what works based on "evidence based medicine", AKA "garbage in garbage out" studies that orders "one size fits all" health care...

this essentially gives these experts the power of life and death over you...which is why Palin called them "death panels".

Factoid of the day: In England, they call these death panels "NICE"

George Orwell, call your office.

And all those who love the idea of a single payer plan: Ask those with a CDIB card about those poorly staffed IHS hospitals that ration medical care.

In the middle of 2000, when we lost our x ray tech, we had to send our patients over a snowy 7000 foot mountain pass to get routine x rays. Why not quickly hire an X ray tech? Because it has to go through the slow process of government hiring...and we didn't have funds to hire a temporary worker.

Then there was the "send the x rays out to be read" to a distant radiologist who cost less than the local ones, and getting reports a week later.

Attention Mister Hubbard: How to start a new religion.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Family news

Well, no one can find a computer battery here in Manila (we ordered two and neither fit). Guess the next step is Dell US...

Joy got back from Manila last night and brought Pizza... I asked Lolo if he wanted one, and he said no...but as I came in with two pieces, he ate both for his midnight snack.

Ruby and her homeschool magnet school class had a trip to learn history and visit the never opened nuclear plant. They also climbed up the mountain there (lots of eco tourism hiking).

Today, the maid came to iron (which she was supposed to do yesterday afternoon) so I said I'd pay her if she also cleaned up the room of the houseboy, where one of the dogs had her puppies. 
So she cleaned it up, and I got the puppies out for their first bath. Their eyes are open and some of them are starting to eat, so when I bought the 20kg bag of dogfood (hi pro for nursing moms) I also bought some puppy food...we mix everything with gravy and leftovers and brown rice.

The cats however smelled the puppy food and ate it. The cats are also fed rice and fish, and whatever they can catch (lizards, birds, mice). The small kitten is still alive: The next danger to him is when he starts wandering, which is when our dogs will kill him if he isn't fast enough. Sigh. we are down to 2 cats: one male and our "mama cat" who had four litters before we had her fixed.

After lunch, we went to get Lolo's medicines at the mall, and I also bought some light bulbs (none of them last very long: now with the new fangled light bulbs, I really worry about mercury in the environment...we recycle but most folks don't).

I invested in one LCD lamp...400 pesos (8 dollars) for a 60 watt bulb, whereas a newfangeld one is either 99 pesos or 120 pesos...and the older types are 40 pesos.


But because we have to light up the house, the gardens, and the storage areas, we use a lot of light bulbs at night to keep the thieves away.

However, after coming home, we found that one of the dead light bulbs is okay: it was the socket. We have our handyman replacing the fancy bulbs in our fence (some got broken by kids, the rest by the storm)...replacing the fancy capiz shell bulbs around the lamps with a wire shell. The kids would break the capiz shell globes for fun, but the storm just blew them all out, and the lightbulbs disappeared...presumably someone needed a spare light bulb at home.

Putting typhoons into perspective

FilAmBlogger at Belmont Club reminds everyone that typhoons/cyclones are just not that unusual in South Asia and SEAsia, so all the hyperventillation about "global warming" is a bit off base.

WeatherUnderground has a list here.

Indeed, even though there are headlines estimating that in the Philippine typhoon there may be about 10 000 deaths (not a confirmed number, but one suspects  it might be close to the mark), one has to remember that a cyclone a couple years ago that hit Burma killed 130 thousand people.

Ah, but Burma has a military dictatorship that hindered outside aid (and news cameras) from getting the story out.

If a person dies quietly without CNN coverage, is he just as dead?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

typhoon realities

A lot of folks died in the supertyphoon, but some suspect that the numbers are exaggerated.

My take? The numbers in the city of Tacloban are probably a couple thousand, but when they get around to counting the rural dead, the count will go back up.
here is the size of the typhoon.
we're at the edge in Luzon above Manila bay.

I keep getting emails from friends and relatives, who saw this in the news...
ironically, we didn't get much damage from the supertyphoon: Which was good because we were hit by a small (signal 3) typhoon three weeks ago that was ignored in the news. Guess they didn't notice I was off line for two weeks...but then, the internet often goes out, so it's not unusual for me to miss a day or two blogging.

What we went through here in Luzon will give you an idea of what folks are going through there: except much much worse. 

Our typhoon took off a lot of roofs, destroyed most of the almost ripe rice crop and veggie crops, destroyed a lot of fruit trees, destroyed most of the local Chicken farms (including ours) and, of course, made a lot of local folks flee to higher ground because of the flooding.

Now, that is a signal 3. The supertyphoon was a signal 4, much worse.

Many poorer folks have bamboo houses with thatch, or made of hard wood with tin roof on a concrete block base. Here, with the increased prosperity after land reform, most of these have been replaced by ugly concrete houses with tin roofs.

In a signal 4/supertyphoon it would collapse most of the non concrete houses, and even the "Concrete" ones would be roofless, windowless and destroyed inside. Our relatives in the Visayas report they have a couple of walls, but nothing else left in their well built house. And the Visayas is poorer than our area: so more poorly built houses in the rural areas that won't be there anymore.

That means no clothing, no stored food, no beds, and you have lost your computer and appliances.

As for food and water: Most city folks use city water. That requires a pump to a water tower, which might not work if all the electric lines are down because of tree damage. Luckily for us, our  city water stayed on: because our water pump decided to break down two days before our smaller typhoon hit.

But without a pump, it meant low pressure, so we had to carry buckets inside to wash, flush the toilet, do the laundry, clean the floors etc. You don't realize what a blessing is until you have to carry a bucket water 30 feet to your bathroom 20 times a day...and it was worse for our son, who lives in a second floor apartment. They did most of the washing downstairs.

But in rural areas, they just will get the water from streams etc. which are not too one wonders if the deaths from diarrhea etc. will be counted as storm related deaths

The real problem may be food: most folks eat locally, and don't have a lot of stored can goods. Veggies come into town daily from farms, and now the crop is lost and the roads are blocked.

 Rice is usually stored in small containers that might survive, but the backup rice is usually stored in a 50 pound sack, which would mean it got wet/destroyed.

Most people cook with LPG gas which might not be available, or you might find your stove destroyed in the floods. Lots of wood, but it's hard to cook with wet wood. Most people cook rice in a rice cooker, but no electricity.

As for electricity: middle class folks tend to have generators. But they won't work if they've been under water. So no electricity in the badly hit areas. And even if your generator works, there is no guarantee you'll find the gasoline/diesel to run them.

After our smaller typhoon, we had to go all over to find a gas station that had a generator so the gas pumps would work. (We only keep a large container of diesel, enough for 8 hours, on hand). And you also have to realize that many of the roads were blocked by fallen trees and debris. Motorcycles and "tricycles" got through okay, but in places that were badly hit, the cars and trucks and motorcycles would also have wet/muddy engines that won't work. So get a bicycle...

Luckily, our house is on a small "rise" and the water here was 4 inches below our garden...the generator is up another 20 inches because we keep it on wheels to take back and forth to the farm, where brownouts are more common.

As for cellphones: Everyone here has one, even the maid. Texting is cheap, and you can buy a "load" for fifty cents.

They also make good emergency "flashlights".

So the main reason that our neighbors came over was to recharge their cellphones, to keep in touch with relatives. within a day, local entrepeneurs put out "cellphone recharging for 25 pesos" (about 50 cents).

But in some of the supertyphoon areas, the cellphones didn't work, or got wet, or maybe the cellphone towers were destroyed. That will cause more problems because everyone here texts all the time.

but when our granddaughter got caught in rising waters during our typhoon, (while trying to sleep at a gas station because the bridge was flooded), she remembered to take her cellphone with her. She and the driver ended up on the roof of the gas station store, in the open air but safe, texting us all night.

Priorities, you know.

Musical interlude of the day

from the film "The Tree of Life"

John Tavener, composer, has died.

Science headlines

Did the Ozone treaty lead to global cooling?

or was it all the pollution coming out of Asia?

Who needs a compass when you have cows?

The technical problems of claiming Arafat was poisoned.

I figure his wife already went through the billion dollars she "inherited" from her late husband and needs more.

Google maps helping first responders to the Philippine typhoon areas?

actually, the first responders are technically the local cops etc. who know the place, but it will help the second responders and outsiders to find their way around.

The saying goes: There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

Ah, but the real problem may be people are lousy at math and get the statistics wrong.

Remember this the next time you read that experts change their mind.


The latest laugh is the banning of transfats;

Time to go back to frying in "healthy, natural lard?

 years ago, restaurants were encouraged to stop using lard or beef tallow to fry things, and switch to the healthier "transfats".

Don't ask us. We "eat locally" and fry in coconut oil.

This is full of "saturated fats", so much that there was a push a couple years ago to get rid of using it to make popcorn in theatres.
Its bad reputation caused a panic at the concession stands back in 1994, when the Center for Science in the Public Interest put out a study claiming that a large movie-theater popcorn, hold the butter, delivered as much saturated fat as six Big Macs. “Theater popcorn ought to be the Snow White of snack foods, but it’s been turned into Godzilla by being popped in highly saturated coconut oil,” Michael Jacobson, the executive director of the center, a consumer group that focuses on food and nutrition, said at the time. 

Nowadays, however, someone decided the experts were wrong: Heh: in the Philippines, they even push "virgin coconut oil" as a health food.


Beware the giant toothed platypus.


Pollution causes drug resistant germs?

The comments follow a report showing that resistance to anti-parasite drugs can develop in mice exposed to arsenic in their drinking water.

Uh, fellahs, most of that arsenic in the water is from naturally occuring aresenic in the ground water, especially in India/Bengladesh

however, if you live near a copper mine, you can blame pollution...


Monday, November 11, 2013

Send in the marines

Sheesh. If you listen to CNN, the people are "blaming" the gov't for not getting help to the Visayas. And they point out the looting too, without saying if it stealing needed supplies or if it is a major problem or just a few cases going on.

As FilAm blogger Belmont club points out, usually people help each other.

Yes. So not only did our relatives in San Lorenzo take shelter in Doy's house, but the maid and her family went there too. Our typhoon didn't get publicized: the earthquakes and the larger typhoon pushed it out of the headlines.

Yet although it was only a "signal 3", we lost much of the crop and a lot of buildings. NEJournal article reports on the crop and building loss.

Ironically, now everyone is worried about us, and we weren't hit by this latest typhoon...but when we were hit by "santi", and I was offline for two weeks, no one even noticed, because it was a "normal" typhoon and didn't make the headlines.


But the danger is not just collapsed building: It is the flooding and storm surge.

We almost lost our granddaughter because the bridge was under water and the roads (to go to her grandparent's house which was on that side of the river) were blocked with trees. So they decided to sleep at a gas station ten feet above the river level ...and then had to climb to the roof of the gas station store when the flood waters surged up. Our pickup truck was completely submerged. Several people were drowned in that small town.

Much of the Belmont club article is about concrete shelters, but the problem is that most larger buildings here are made with concrete blocks reinforced with steel rods and wires, because we are an earthquake prone zone. Yet the water level is high and if you build the building on clay, there is non guarantee that it won't have the roof torn off, the windows blown out, or the structure collapse due to the foundation crumbling.

But the real danger is flooding.

The storm surge was 20 plus feet in Tacloban.  That would mean you could drown on the second floor.

As for the usual complaints by western press:

Before you send in aid, you need for the winds to stop (which would be Saturday afternoon) and repairing the roads etc. Then you need to get there. Air planes are fast, but limited. Roads are blocked. The sea has to be calm and the port needs to be open, and the roads from the ports/airports need to be cleared.

That takes time. So the country folks will get help from each other, or will die. Luckily, these things happen all too frequently, so they help each other.

As for the US: The Marines are on their way...from Okinawa.

that means more helicopters (and the Osprey) that can help the local military to get aid to rural areas.

Why Catholics are cynical about their bishops

Rant here.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

More stuff for later reading

No, we didn't get hit by the big supertyphoon, but we have been having heavy rains and gusty winds for the last two days, and all week the internet is going off and on, probably because they are still busy fixing the phone lines.

So again, just a bunch of links for me to read and comment on in depth later.

Elton John has been worried about Lady Gaga (who is his son's godmother).
Now the news tells the back story: instead of taking NSAIDs, she was taking medical marijuana for the pain, was walking around high all the time, and got hooked. She now has stopped it.

Story includes this factoid:
The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has estimated 9 percent of people who use marijuana will become dependent on it, rising to 25-50 percent among daily users.
In our prayers: she is a good friend to the Philippines.


The supertyphoon is on the network news...considering the high population and the width of the damage, I suspect the death toll will be a couple thousand when they get to count the dead in isolated rural areas.

I've been to Tacloban, the city that was the worst hit...(one of Lolo's classmates was a doc there and we visited her a couple years back). It is a medium size city (200 thousand) and sounds like the 20 foot storm surge took a lot of people by surprise.

We still had heavy rain from the supertyphoon last night. Our less serious typhoon was bad enough.

So excuse me if I laugh at "SURVIVOR" type shows or the "prepper" stuff on TV: Why imitate disaster when you can live through the real thing?


StarWars episode seven due in two years.

one geek podcast was commenting on the difference between Jackson and Abrams: Jackson has regular vlogs to whet the appetite of the hard core fans. Not much out about Starwars yet.

and yes, SW fans: the geekpriest has a podcast about the SW movies too.(along with Harry Potter and the hobbit...and no, unlike Hollywood Jesus, they aren't religious, just full of geeky stuff).

for hungergames fans, the Rebellionradio podcast is here. The buzz is that, unlike the first film, this one will have great cinematography...


Tomorrow is Veterans' day in the US. PaulFromStokes put up new music to commemorate remembrance day, the UK version of the day that remembers the end of World War I