Saturday, December 31, 2011


funny pictures - Fermit de Krog here
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

bad news of the day

Chinese man with bird flu may not have caught it from poultry...

Stuff below the fold

Volcano reports of the year.

none in the Philippines

The Mayans in Georgia? more HERE.

Headsup TeaAtTrianon, and Archeoblog has the official report link.

and was a volcano to blame for the Mayan collapse?


another artifact out of history: Syria's Alawites.

To orthodox Muslims, this eclectic synthesis of Christian, Gnostic, Neoplatonic and Zoroastrian thought violates Islam's key tenet that "there is no God but God."

the danger in Syria is that if the Islamicists take over, as they seem to be doing in Egypt, that unlike the Copts, the Alawites, Christians and Druze might fight back...leading to a slaughter ...

52 reasons that Florida is the Zaniest state in the USA.

Headsup Davebarry.
The five best books of history.

I'm not sure I agree, (I've only read two of them) but Tacitus is available at Librivox...
headsup HNN...

Attention men: Make sure you are the first footer.

A custom known as "first footing" dictates that the first person to cross a home's threshold after midnight on New Year's Eve will determine the homeowner's luck for the new year.

and don't forget the booze.

The ideal visitor bears gifts—preferably whiskey, coal for the fire, small cakes, or a coin—and should be a man with a dark complexion. Why? The answer hearkens back to the 8th century, when the presumably fair-haired Vikings invaded Scotland: a blond visitor was not a good omen.
Here, we celebrate with firecrackers and fireworks.

The noise is so loud that George the killer watchdog usually fights with the other dogs to see who gets the best place hiding under the bed....

Friday, December 30, 2011

Factoid of the day

Everyone knows that Texans speak English and many speak Spanish, but what is the third most commonly spoken language in Texas?

Answer: Vietnamese:

in the United States, ... it has more than one million speakers and is the seventh most-spoken language (it is 3rd in Texas, 4th in Arkansas and Louisiana, and 5th in California[3]). In Australia, it is the sixth most-spoken language.[citation needed]

from Wikipedia.

Podcast of the week

Christmas in Lake Wobegon

  • Segment 3
    • 01:05:09 GK Welcome Back
    • 01:05:27 "Joy to the World," Orchestra of Neglected Instruments led by Peter Schickele (12/23/06)
    • 01:10:44 Rhubarb script (12/12/98)
    • 01:15:30 "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," GK (12/10/11)
    • 01:19:19 Teen script (12/21/02)
    • 01:28:11 "Hard Times," Gillian Welch and David Rawlings (10/15/11)
  • Segment 4
    • 01:32:59 The News from Lake Wobegon (Four Memorable Christmases) (12/22/01)

Cat Item of the day

NYDailyNews has the best Cat photos of the year.

and Factoid of the day:

It's not a lime, it's a pomelo.

Bad science post of the day

I hate air pollution.

When I travel in Manila, I have to use an asthma inhaler to stop an attack. Here in the provinces, I only have to use an inhaler in spring, when they burn off the weeds in the fields.

However, science reporting on "green" issues often is so inaccurate that a lot of us who believe in global warming and fighting pollution have to wonder why they need bad logic and poorly written experiments to prove their point.

One wonders how intelligent sites like Nat Geo (and worse, peer reviewed scientific journals) put up headlines such as this one:

Why Tornadoes take the weekends off in summer.
map of industrial centers in North America:


here is a map of prevailing surface winds that would carry pollution or fallout from these major industrial centers:

and here is a map of Tornado alley.


now, someone tell these bozos that pollution from New York City and other east coast cities aren't the reason we had to hide in a tornado cellar when we lived in Oklahoma...full rant on BNN...

Stuff below the fold

If you loved Stuxnet, just wait: His four brothers are waiting to get to know you.Link
another fact I learned from the article: Kapersky Lab is based in Moscow.
hmmm...the same place of a lot of hackers...

Recumbant Stone circles....more HERE.

There are a lot more of these than I realized: Check out LINK.

and lots in Asia...for example, Padang hill in Indonesia....or the Lattestones in Guam...


Another essay arguing Shakespeare was Catholic.

Michael Wood did a show hinting this LINK or LINK

I have no opinion, but there is a lot of evidence that his family was....

The "Occupy" folks are planning to invade the Iowa Caucuses.

why not? it worked in 2008 LINK to steal the nomination from Hillary

one wonders if anyone will bother to see if the same tactics and faces show up this time...

To paraphrase an old saying: She came to do good, and she did well.

Hmmm...maybe the watchdogs in Washington could take lessons from PNoy...


Obesity as a national security issue?
The combined weight gained by the average American male and female can cut average fuel economy by as much as one percent, which could translate to an additional 153 million gallons of gas burned in the U.S. over the course of a year.

(headsup Instapundit)

On the contrary, says Allen Sherman:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Frank Wild is laid to rest

Explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton set out to try to be the first to cross Antarctica.

He failed, but his ill-fated expedition on the Endurance, which began in 1914, is now seen as one of history's greatest stories of survival and leadership.

But while much has been written about Shackleton, his second-in-command on that voyage, a Yorkshireman called Frank Wild, has been largely overlooked by history. At least, until now.

Wild's relatives recently accompanied him on his final journey to Antarctica, as they took his ashes to South Georgia, to rest next to the grave of Shackleton, the man he affectionately referred to as "the boss"

Photo from BBC: Grytviken on the island of South Georgia is where Frank Wild and Sir Ernest Shackleton are now buried, side by side...

Podcast here.

and check out video here.

Gift item of the day

photo from wikipedia

.His turtle ships were equipped with at least five different types of cannon. Their most distinguishable feature was a dragon-shaped head at the bow (front) that could launch cannon fire or flames from the mouth. Each was also equipped with a fully covered deck to deflect arrow fire, musket-shots, and incendiary weapons.[5] The deck was covered with iron spikes to discourage enemy men from attempting to board the ship.[5] Claims that it was iron plated remain controversial (see section on decking).

Information on the Turtle ship can be found HERE and HERE.

or you can buy a solar powered turtle ship model from Amazon:

or if you are into Vikings, they also sell:
OWI Valiant Viking Ship - Solar Powered

Admiral Yi take two

he's also the subject of one of those long historical soap opera miniseries that are so popular here in Asia:

How Admiral Yi saved Korea

'Who saved Korea from Japanese domination in the 1590's? Yi Sun-Sin.

I am listening to Professor Bullet's lectures on world history, and he notes that although most history books lament the loss of life in the 30 year war in Europe, few know about Japans war against korea (whose ultimate aim was to take over China) at the same time: that essentially destroyed Korea:

The total military and civilian casualty as estimated by the late 19th century historian, Geo H. Jones, is 1 million,[8] and the total combat casualty ranges around 250,000...

most were starvation or disease (a lot of arable land was destroyed) but they also included brutality against civilians.

Japanese troops committed crimes against civilians in battles and killed indiscriminately, including farm animals.
The Korean army was outmatched, but their Navy, whose experience in fighting pirates was first rate, essentially stopped the conquest.

The Korean navy played a crucial part in the second invasion, as in the first. The Japanese advances were halted due to the lack of reinforcements and supplies as the naval victories of the Korean navy prevented the Japanese from accessing the south-western side of the Korean peninsula.[165] Also, during the second invasion, China sent a large number of Chinese ships to aid the Koreans. This made the Korean navy an even bigger threat to the Japanese, since they had to fight a larger enemy fleet.
Japan eventually conquered Korea in 1910 and tried to take over China, (Wikipedia lists this as Japan's 35-year imperialist expansion (29 August 1910 to 15 August 1945). Another result was that Japan's Hideyoshi closed them country to foreigners and stopped the upward mobility of the peasants by confiscating their swords and forbidding them to become samurai.

So but one wonders if history would have been different if Admiral Yi hadn't been there 300 years earlier.

Yet who in the west, have ever heard of him?

Hint: The Geeks.

Yi (in his turtle ship) and his turtle ships appear in the game Age of Empires II: The Conquerors. However, for the purpose of balance, the turtle ships are wrong in two areas of the game: they are slow (in reality they were quite fast) and they can only fire the cannon out of the dragon's mouth/bow (the turtle ships actually fired broadsides and used the front mostly as a sulfur smoke blower and ram).

Yi also appears in the RTS game Empires: Dawn of the Modern World where he and his ship, the turtle boat, are playable characters. Yi's character is only playable in the campaign devoted to his plight in the Imjin war

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Stuff below the fold

Photo: AP Photo/Luis Benavides
has an escalator in their slums.

Hmmm...this kind of thing would be great for those living on the side of the hills in Baguio too...

nasa photo of the day.

UhOH: Looks like God has a hangover with bloodshot eyes...

WTF medical article of the day: H Pylori, that causes ulcers, might protect you against diarrhea.

When an intelligence firm is hacked, none of us are safe. Luckily, it seems to have been done as a prank, and money from the stolen credit cards was gifted to charities...

Dave Barry asks:

Can Bees Make Tupperware?

Hmmm...what was the Ming china doing in Mapungubwe?

Chinese celadon ceramics dated to the Song (1127-1279 AD), Yuan (1279-1368 AD) or early Ming (1368-1644 AD) dynasties of China were recovered from the site.

Over 100,000 glass beads were eventually identified at Mapungubwe, a quarter of which were recovered from one burial. Mapungubwe's bead assemblage included "Dutch Dogons" made in Germany, hexagonal beads from Czechoslovakia, Indo-Pacific beads from India and Sri Lanka, Islamic beads from al-Fustat, and Venetian glass beads: all of these attest to the breadth of the trade system connecting Mapungubwe to the rest of the world.

In a related item: the Suakin island is now open to tourists.

more HERE. and HERE

Photosource Wikipedia.
then there's the mystery of the Klerksdorp Spheres.

By all scientific accounts, the rounded objects with even latitudinal grooves are 3 billion-year-old rocks that were naturally formed by carbonate concretions. Over the process of their development the tiny pyrophyllite spheres, which range in size from .5-10 cm, were created when minerals formed in the space between sediments. Weathering of these specimen left them as tiny balls, with evenly spaced lines circumscribing them.

more HERE.
msNBC reports the ancient mysteries of 2011, including:

are the floods caused by Global warming or Logging? Yes

rant moved to BNN.

Hello Kitty item of the day

headsup Dustbury

Classics reference of the day

Yeah, not only was Kirk Odysseus and Startrek "wagon train in the sky", but as Professor Hodges points out, the Wrath of Khan was based on Paradise lost. (cartoon from her post).

Fandom: teaching kids what schools don't teach: geeks discuss Kirk vs Odysseus...


Quick, before the copyright cops find it: Firefly the series is at youtube:

Firefly, like other series that attrack fandom, will probably outlive the stuff that gets all the hype: if nothing else because it is well written.

So phrases from the series will end up in the vocabulary of the hip, who understand the context and the implications behind the phrase.

Yet when this Theatre arts professor used a Firefly poster that in context implied that he was fair, straightforward and not able to be manipulated, it got him in trouble with the PC police who never saw the series: VIDEO LINK
(headsup Instapundit)

The PC police are clueless to the phrase, and guilty not only of intellectual apathy, but also taking things out of context, "ain't it awful" completely negative emphasis and concrete thinking... stuff we docs are trained to deal with in our patients.

presumably the professor would be in even more trouble if he put up a poster with the word "First kill all the lawyers"....and students using Guy Fawkes masks are similarly not endorsing terrorism but the right of the minority to be free of the rigid laws of state that try to control their thinking.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Musical interlude of the day

Holiday foods


recipe here

Another recipe, using queso de bolla, HERE.

a third version:

Baby it's cold outside post of the day

In Minnesota, being outside in the snow is routine: after all, it's only 20 below most of the time, so why not go outside and celebrate?

Wabasha holds a grumpy old men ice fishing festival

and then there is the icebox days of International Falls (a festival that includes the "freeze your gizzard blizzard run" and frozen turkey bowling).

but the really big festival is that in St. Paul winter carnival:


and don't miss the annual Eelpout festival scheduled in February:

And it's not just Minnesota: The Chinese Harbin Ice Festival photos are found HERE.



Dave barry links to this item:

A Scottish couple claims to have unearthed an 800-year-old stone that looks like Homer Simpson.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Have a PC holiday

After taking some legal advice:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress , non addictive, gender neutral celebration of the summer solstice holiday practised with the most enjoyable traditions of religious persuasion or secular practices of your choice with respect for the religious / secular persuasions and / or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all .

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2012, but not without due respect for the calendar of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make our country great ( not to imply that Australia is necessarily greater than any other country ) and without regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms :
This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her / him or others and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. The wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

Best Regards (without prejudice)

Name withheld (Privacy Act).

(also via comment on Davebarry)

Musical interlude of the day take two

via DaveBarry

Stuff below the fold

wondering why so few new drugs being developed? Maybe because the companies are going bankrupt.

Oryza report about rice markets includes this about Greece's problems:

...Over 500 European banks took an estimated €489 billion (about $641 billion) in loans from the ECB yesterday. Greece’s debt will swell to the equivalent of about twice the size of the economy next year unless debt holders agree to accept bigger losses on Greek sovereign bond holdings. The IMF is pushing for creditors to accept the equivalent of a 65% loss in the net present value of their holdings of Greek government debt...

since one way to shrink the debt is inflation, I'm waiting for someone to notice this prices on rice have gone up here again, and "luxury" items such as coffee and milk are constantly getting slightly higher...


Conspiracy post of the day: What was that ball that landed in Namibia?

Heh...reminds me of this movie:

one of the all time best movies and available on youtube.
Funniest scene: When he explains how the Landrover ended up on the tree...


The folks who celebrate Christmas the best are Pinoys.

Here it is commercial, lasts for three months, is full of church attending, and includes giving lots of money to relatives, and the poor.

the cousins who we missed yesterday afternoon just came back to wish us "Merry Christmas"


Musical interlude of the day

for all families separated by war or economic hardship.

headsup gatewaypundit

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Film of the week

and no, it's not my favorite Chritsmas film.... I prefer the Bishop's wife because the problem of a workaholic whose important work causes problems with their family is a common problem with doctors I know.

youtube link

and quick, before the copyright cops find out: Fantasia is there too...

as is the old tearjerker All Mine to Give...

Musical interlude of the day

Cat item of the day take two

Cat item of the day

Funny Pictures - Cat Gifs
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

HelloKitty Christmas

we celebrate the religious holiday here in the Philippines, but much of Asia celebrates the secular celbration of it's still PC to say merry Christmas here in Asia...

Photo of the day

X ray of Christmas tree

Remember the reason for the season

I once worked in a poor area where the priest would start the ceremony to baptise each child with the words: The angels rejoiced at your birth, and now we welcome you in the family of the church.

In today's world, the lesson of Christmas, that when we find "belief" weak, we show our reverence by seeing God in our family, in our neighbors, and in the least of our brethren.

with all the fancy decor and choirs singing, one needs to remember that it is about a child born in a stable, with only his loving family, shepherds and angels to greet his birth, not about fancy presents, parties, and self.

AFP Photo of the Mindanao destruction.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Got Glogg?

and the recipe for Glogg can be found at NPR: and contains these simple ingredients


Aquavit (or brandy or vodka)
Burgundy or pinot noir wine
Port wine
White sugar
Cinnamon sticks
Cardamom seeds
One orange
One piece of ginger
Blanched almonds

go to link on how to make it, or listen HERE.

and you can buy your "got Glogg" teeshirt at Zazzle...

Family news

Headed off to Dr. Angie's office...she is holding free clinic day with free lunch.

Stuff below the fold

Floods in the US are not unknown, and today Atlas Obscura links to the Johnstown flood memorial

and tells the story of the "inclined plane" railroad that saved people in the 1936 and 1967 floods.

the Flood Memorial museum is located several miles upstream from Johnstown, and both times the floods killed folks in upstream towns. Indeed, my house when I lived nearby survived the flood before I bought moved there, but the houses nearer to the river did not and were parks...and the garage across the street had a mark "flood level" seven feet off the ground.

Musical interlude of the day

Factoid of the day

Airlines can refuse to board you if you smell bad

however, if you are thin and ask for seat extensions, pray loud enough to disturb passengers and discuss in Arabic that you hate American and belong to a mosque where some on the 911 hijackers attended, no problem.

Stuff below the fold

Quint at AICN has another report from New Zealand


John Howe links to Quint and PJ's film updates, but this week's blog post is actually a discussion about Egyptologist Christiane Desroches Noblecourt...


TeaAtTrianon remembers the Bells of St Mary's, and notes the reality of Catholic schools was closer to the sentimental film than the present day calumnies of them. The film is on youtube LINK


TeaAtTrianon also links to an essay on skating in the medieval world.


InOurtime podcast this week discusses Robinson Crusoe. Past discussions include Judas Maccabee and the Concordance of Worms.

That last one is more a laugh line nowadays, but actually it explains why a theocracy like Iran does not exist in Christianity

The Concordat created a historic distinction between secular power and spiritual authority, and more clearly defined the respective powers of monarchs and the Church.

Pass the smelling salts! Don't do mammograms because a false positive one might worry the poor dears...


Hmm...sounds like a lot of my relatives are going to be snowed in/have a white Christmas....
Which is why I moved to the Philippines to retire, where I only have to worry about floods, typhoons, earthquakes, terrorism, and Dengue fever....

Thursday, December 22, 2011

the 12 days of Christmas

and don't forget the cake:

headsup from rectaratio

Cat item of the day

this is especially funny since our cats tend to bring in birds and eat them in our bathroom...yuck. The really bad news is when they bring in huge rats and we don't find them until we smell them and find where they hid them.... or when they brought us a dead bat...

Musical interlude of the day (take two)

Pinoy Christmas songs sung in a country without any churches (2010):

This is the CFC Choir of the CFC Community in the Eastern Region in Saudi Arabia. Led by Toto Delgado as the choirmaster and CFC Area MM Coordinator. The choir went-a-caroling to the Family Day and Xmas Party of CFC Al Hassa to raise fund.

Musical interlude of the day

Stuff below the fold

The flood aftermath continues to dominate local news, and more rain is on the way...

But now we have reports of overseas help for the victims.

in addition to government aid, celebrities, including the Blackeyed Peas, Paris Hilton, and the Miss Asia NYC pageant folks are sending aid.

Yeah: cross dressers and gays are accepted here with affectionate joking, unlike the more puritanical USA where such things are controversial.

Here, the country is starting to shut down for the exodus to home for the Christmas holidays.
we are praying for their safety, not only from storms and accidents but from terrorist attacks, since the Philippine military is busy helping flood victims.

At least one ex general wanted for "extrajudicial killing" is trying to leave the country, hoping they will overlook him in the exodus.

and the feud between the Supreme court justice Corona and the president has folks lining up on both sides. Is the president trying to be a dictator? After all, what's the problem with a small gift between friends?

yeah, and we're still waiting for justice for our nephew's murder, where the indictment was delayed (but if I name who gifted whom, I could be shut down...there is a strong libel law here)...

and Man's best friend story of the day:

the Yecyec family found themselves bobbing in the rampaging waters.

Marilou said she managed to grab a piece of wood from the debris of demolished houses and held on to it with Jennylou while her husband and son and their pet family dog struggled against the strong current.

A whirlpool that came out of nowhere swallowed every one of them, along with dozens of other people.

Marilou said Jennylou and the dog—which her family has had for three years—got separated from the rest.

Riding piggyback

The girl recounted that while gasping for breath, the dog—pregnant at the time—tried hard not to drift away from her.

“It’s as if it did not want to leave my side,” she said.

As she gasped for air, Jennylou said the dog would bump her lightly, as if trying to tell her something.

“So I rode piggybacked on her and she did the swimming,” Jennylou said.

Out in the open sea, Jennylou said the already exhausted mongrel navigated towards a plank of wood floating nearby. As soon as she held on to the wood, she said the dog sank and was never seen again.

At daybreak, rescuers on rubber boat plucked Jennylou and several others from the sea.

At an evacuation center, she would later be reunited with the rest of her family, who also survived the nightmare. There were profuse expressions of gratitude when the missing member turned up.

“I would have died if not for our dog,” Jennylou said

Nice news below the fold

Vaclav Havel will be buried tomorrow and his fellow prisoner under the communist regieme, Archbishop Dominik Duka of Prague, will conduct the funeral mass.

some quotes from Havel on hope:

Hope is a feeling that life and work have meaning. You either have it or you don't, regardless of the state of the world that surrounds you.
Vaclav Havel

Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good.
Vaclav Havel

Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.
Vaclav Havel

Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.
Vaclav Havel
I am reminded of Tolkien's writings that discuss the two words in Elvish for hope: one is hope in the short term, and the second one, Estel, is hope or belief that in the long run everything will work for the good. Here, Havel is discussing the second definition.

GetReligion discusses Havel's writings, and notes this quip

Within a matter of days, we learned of the deaths of Christopher Hitchens, Vaclav Havel and Kim Jong Il (Josh Trevino tweeted: “I’d like to think God let Havel and Hitchens pick the third.”).

The Hobbit Trailer is now up

Apple link

Hobbit link

TORN reported that the Apple link crashed earlier today, but it's running now.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

cat item of the day

Just for nice

NGC 253: The Sculptor Galaxy
Image Credit & Copyright: Angus Lau


Peace on Earth etc etc...


And the Obama White House has a video about how they made the WH Kitchen Kosher.

One of my medical school roommates mother kept a kosher requires two sets of plates and a lot of care.

And check the kosher okay on the side of prepared foods (similar to the Halal mark on many pre packaged foods here). Some of these food laws overlap, so many Muslims in the US used to check the kosher status to make sure there were no pork products in their food. Nowadays, however, there are enough Muslims in the US to add both marks.

Which always reminds me of this commercial:


Presumably he will release a Kwanza greeting later....and no, I don't celebrate Kwanza...we never celebrated it in the two African countries where I worked, because it was a holiday made up in the US to encourage African Americans of their heritage...

Or maybe it would be more accurate to say his impression of their heritage...because no one in Africa celebrates it...

Kwanza means "first" in Swahili but not in the languages or culture of west Africa, where most ancestors of American blacks originated... .. But since the average American doesn't know the difference between a Kikuyu or a non Bantu Luo, let alone that no American slave ever spoke Swahili, I think I'll just stay out of the fight.

(Hint: Obama's father was a Luo)

Another made up item:
Newt was right?!

The Iranian Schindler who saved thousands of Jews from the Nazis


And Instapundit links to this article: who is blowing up Iran? Two more explosions there...

Musical interlude of the day

Sad Christmas

Many of those who died in the floods down South were children

The headlines of the Manila Bulletin is about how folks are donating food, clothing, and money to the 200 thousand displace by flooding, and sending and coffins to bury the flood victims.

Photo shows members of the Philippine Navy carrying coffins, part of 500 coffins from Sto. Tomas, Pampanga, to be loaded on the BRP Dagupan for shipment to flood-hit Iligan and Cagayan de Oro. (Photo by ALI VICOY)

They will be using the same "portable morgue" that they used in the earlier ferry disaster to collect DNA and identification of victims, many of whom will probably be buried unidentified.


Strategy Page warns that the war on corruption might get hot here...
and they also note:

December 19, 2011: A storm of unexpected size and speed hit the south over the weekend, killing over a thousand people and forcing nearly 300,000 from their homes. This has shut down the terrorists, separatists and gangsters, as well as military operations in the flooded areas. Troops and police have been shifted to disaster relief in the areas along the coast were most of the damage was done.

no, the disaster is 400 km south of here, but we've lived through several floods in our rural area, with lower death tolls: usually folks know to evacuate since flooding and typhoons are more common here...

Ranting about Stuff below the fold

You might be reading warm and fuzzy stories of this Jailed liberal and attractive American woman who was pardoned and allowed to visit home.

Ghost in the story:

Her parole sparked anger in Peru, still reeling from its 20-year conflict which ended in 2000 after some 70,000 lives were lost. Headlines across the country labeled her a “terrorist.”

Nah, most of those massacred horribly were merely defenseless Peruvian peasants and don't count, whereas the woman was a liberal who believed in the revolution, (so she is a heroine?)

as this BBC podcast notes: the term is not heroine but "useful idiot"

In contrast: Speaking truth to power: Vaclav Havel's revolution.

“Living within the truth,” according to Havel, is an inherently moral enterprise. It requires sacrifice, which presupposes a “sense of responsibility” for others — a belief in love, friendship and compassion. In the company of John Paul II and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Havel believed that political renewal starts in moral and personal renewal. In one letter from prison he wrote, “But who should begin? Who should break this vicious circle? The only possible place to begin is with myself. . . . Whether all is really lost or not depends entirely on whether or not I am lost.”

Ghost in the article: Havel was secular, and the revolution didn't start in his country, but in Poland, spurred on by a pesky bishop who built a church in the Marxist paradise of Nowo Huta and backed Solidarity...which is why the story tends to be ignored.

Should scientist publish a "how to make Captain Trips" type articles in scientific journals?

The NYTimes says no.

Ghost in the story: A lot of folks already know how to do it.
Second ghost in the story: Anyone using birdflu or other infectious disease to kill their enemies would end up dead themselves. That's why anthrax, which is not spread person to person, is a better candidate for bioterror...

NGO's pushing social changes in the third world: ignore the real problems of poor countries and let's push for gay rights and aborting babies.

Yup. sounds like the Philippines. and Obama is linking these PC items with foreign aid...

No trained birth attendents for one third of the births, but never mind...

The decrease in the birth rate here suggests that the wholistic approach (using prolonged breast feeding, NFP (used by 20 percent of the population), and including using the pill or Depo, which are already used by one third of the population, and used by Catholics for medical reasons) is working...the average number of children is now 3, not 6 as in the 1960's....and falling...

You need a wholistic approach, where the object is not population control but healthy moms and healthy children. This means midwives in rural areas (who don't ask for extra "gifts" to deliver your baby), well child clinics, protein supplements, and encouraging prolonged breast feeding...there are a lot of poor kids in this area with the reddish hair of mild protein malnutrition...

For example, the huge decrease in maternal deaths in Afghanistan is a result of this multipronged approach...

Feminists are angry they feel compelled to care for their mothers.

Why did we fight so hard for sexual liberation, birth control and abortion rights, new models of childbirth, respect in the workplace and child care — only to become demure good girls in middle and old age?
Yeah, they want the government to do it all so they aren't burdened...If you don't see where this is going, you haven't been paying attention.


Insomnia downloads of the week

Saint Charles Borromeo: A Sketch of the Reforming Cardinal by Stacpoole-Kenny, Louise M.

History of England from the Accession of James II - (Volume 4, Chapter 20 by Macaulay, Thomas Babington

Natural History Volume 2, The by Pliny the Elder, John Bostock

They also have some lighter listening:

Idylls of the King by Tennyson, Alfred, Lord

Christmas Carol Collection 2011 by Various

Christmas Carol, A-1 by Dickens, Charles

and these anthologies:

  1. [Multilingual] Various. "Christmas Short Works Collection 2006" · (readers)
  2. Various. "Christmas Short Works Collection 2007" · (readers)
  3. [Multilingual] Various. "Christmas Short Works Collection 2008" · (readers)
  4. [Multilingual] Various. "Christmas Short Works Collection 2009" · (readers)
  5. [Multilingual] Various. "Christmas Short Works Collection 2010" · (readers)
  6. [Multilingual] Various. "Christmas Short Works Collection 2011" · (readers)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Southsea romance

Speaking of Australian/NZ movies like Molokai, which are about themes of that area: I saw this movie years ago, and it is a nice film of true love...even though it is by BYU....

Forget crop circles

who carved the white horse of Uffington?

Stuff below the fold

The God Particle is cornered but elusive. Background here.

Mass Murderer Kim is dead....but few obits go into details.

and filling in the details by GetReligion....

“Mercurial and enigmatic longtime leader,” eh? Is that how they spell “murderous Communist dictator” these days? I guess so...I’m reminded of this old piece in The Guardian about the torture chambers Kim’s regime ran:

In the remote north-eastern corner of North Korea, close to the border of Russia and China, is Haengyong. Hidden away in the mountains, this remote town is home to Camp 22 - North Korea’s largest concentration camp, where thousands of men, women and children accused of political crimes are held.

Now, it is claimed, it is also where thousands die each year and where prison guards stamp on the necks of babies born to prisoners to kill them.

The piece goes through the first-hand testimonies from defectors about execution and torture, including gas chambers with chemical experiments run on humans. It tells of whole families put in glass chambers and gassed while scientists take notes.

StrategyPage comments on Russia and the Chinese cyberwar.

Mother Marianne who nursed lepers in Hawaii, and Kateri Tekawitha are okayed to be declared official saints.

Kateri is Native American, and was one reason that many Native Americans are Catholic...factoid of the day: The first mass in Idaho was said for the Native Americans there.

And I remember when I lived in New Mexico, and a local woman woke up shortly after her family made a novena to Kateri for her recovery...the doctors said it was the influenza medicine, not the prayers, but never mind...

Our Oklahoma church had a shrine to Kateri,

Mother Marianne is a minor character but a memorial one in this movie about Father Damien and the leper's a commercial, not a religious movie, so is actually worth watching...and yes, that is Faramir, and Peter O'Toole is in it too...

also in the list is Cebu native Peter Calungsod, a Pinoy catechist who was martyred in the Marianas. more HERE.

Musical interlude of the day

an ancient lament to the babies of Bethlehem killed by Herod...

Many of the dead from the floods in the southern Philippines were sleeping children, swept away by the waters...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Angels on high

mage courtesy ESA/NASA

Musical interlude of the day

Flood in the south

Watch for all the PC to blame the floods that killed so many on "global warming".

But the real reason: corruption and incompetence. Illegal logging probably contributed to a lot of the mudslide deaths, for example, and that activity is allowed because someone took a bribel

from the Inquirer:

The absence of a flood warning, high tide, darkness and a false sense of security proved disastrous for people of northern Mindanao when Tropical Storm “Sendong” came over the weekend.

Add illegal logging, rapid urbanization and mining, and the result was deadly...

warnings went unheeded (prior rains didn't cause flash floods). The rivers were allowed to silt up. The illegal mining and logging removed trees that held the soil and absorbed water..resulting in landslide and flash floods... The pineapple plantations resulted in water running off, not being absorbed. And several dams/protective levees gave way...and many, worried that their homes would be robbed, refused to evacuate when warned, since previous floods didn't destroy the area.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Local news

the terrible typhoon hit the southern island, so we are okay (cloudy and mild rain only).

Full report HERE.

History lessons

Awhile back I linked to George Stuart, who makes intricate figurines of historical figures and tells stories about them.

An example of his monologues:

and LINK a monologue on Russia

the latest: Chinese history.

and he has a blog...

Musical interlude of the day

Mom's Rules take three

Photo source

Mom's rules take two

from Paperdollsstuff

Mom's Rules

If you get it out, put it up.
If you sleep on it, make it up.
If you wear it, hang it up.
If you drop it, pick it up.
If you dirty it, wash it.
If you open it, close it.
If you turn it on, turn it off.
If it rings, answer it.
If it barks, feed it.
If it cries, love it.

---from HomeSanctuary.

Quote of the day

Put simply, for too long we have been unwilling to distinguish right from wrong.

“Live and let live” has too often become “do what you please”.

Bad choices have too often been defended as just different lifestyles.

To be confident in saying something is wrong is not a sign of weakness, it’s a strength.

But we can’t fight something with nothing....

As President Obama wrote in the Audacity of Hope:

“…in reaction to religious overreach we equate tolerance with secularism, and forfeit the moral language that would help infuse our politics with larger meaning.”

Frankly, we need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and a much more active, muscular liberalism.

A passively tolerant society says to its citizens, as long as you obey the law we will just leave you alone.

It stands neutral between different values.

But I believe a genuinely liberal country does much more; it believes in certain values and actively promotes them.

We need to stand up for these values.

To have the confidence to say to people – this is what defines us as a society…

…and that to belong here is to believe in these things.

David Cameron

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Ah, Romance

quick, ladies, before the copyright cops find it's there:

The Linda Hamilton TV show Beauty and the Beast is at Youtube:

Stuff below the fold

Name that country: Factoid of the day:

Public demonstrations against corruption or government policies have increased in the last two decades from under 8,000 a year, to over 180,000 a year.

Factoid of the day take two:

Guess who can't predict anything about hurricanes?

Rankin Bass' film of the story "Cricket on the hearth" is on youtube for your viewing enjoyment:

don't fall in the hole photo of the day:

3D pictures