Friday, November 30, 2012

Stories below the fold from yesterday

Why would anyone oppose a UN disability rights treaty? because of the fine print, including this problem with UN treaties:
the misinterpretation of UN treaties has become a major concern of UN member states. Compliance committees, also known as treaty monitoring bodies or treaty bodies, routinely act ultra vires by purporting to issue rulings in a quasi-judicial capacity. These entities expand the meaning of international instruments, without consultation or agreement by member states, disregarding the sovereignty of the nations that constituted them. Ratifying the Convention would be seen as United States approval for this modus operandi.

Researchers ask 'Do aliens use hairspray?'

Som says the detection of CFCs and other artificial greenhouse gases may provide clues as to how advanced a planet's civilisation is.
"If you find a planet that is right on the edge of a habitable zone and you find it has a lot of greenhouse gases in it, chances are that planet is being actively terraformed."

Pakistan probably saved lives by turning off cellphones (used to detonate bombs) and increasing security during the Shiite processions for the Ashua holy days.

but one result was that Sunni radicals have attacked the crowds in person, and have now filed "blasphemy" charges against at least 200 worshippers who protected themselves.

some militant Sunni extremist organization, "Sipah-i-Sahaba," tried to block or divert the procession of Shiite worshipers, saying that part of the journey was not authorized.
The outcome of the clashes between Shiites and Sunnis: 10 injured and 222 complaints. It seems that the Shiite threw stones at the flags and banners where the name of the Prophet Mohammed was written and are therefore guilty of blasphemy.


Family news

Modem /network problems again. I have to blog from the business computer.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Video download of the day


This should help. wonder it sounds familiar



puppy news of the day

Angel, the small white house pet dog's five puppies are doing well.

But her daughter, who is a watchdog, just had three puppies...

The good news is that so far Blackie and Cocoa, who were in heat about the same time, don't look pregnant now...but then the last time Cocoa had six babies she didn't look pregnant either.

and don't tell me to fix the dogs: We already did. It didn't work.

Gift item of the day

Are you or one of your loved ones into the survivalist lifestyle?

 Here's a gift for them

a HelloKitty Earthquake survival pack: 

but it from Amazon's Japan website HERE.
and don't forget to add HelloKitty's survival radio:

The all-in-one survival device includes a hand-cranked phone charger, LED flashlight, AM/FM radio, compass and even a hazard siren, according to Popgadget.

Stuff below the fold

vote for Malala as person of the year.

and in the UK,the Pakistanis in the UK threatening to give her a death fatwa: actually they have denied it is a threat, saying they are only "investigating" her, but you get the idea... ironically, the idea is being pushed by a UK Islamicist who is living on welfare....

and a local blogger notes that the local press is saying Malala is a fake to smear her name...


Hate MSWord?
I use open office, but SenseOfEvents says try Libre office.

And yes, I always used word perfect, not MSWord, on my other computers, but can't afford it on this one. Heck, I can't even afford to keep the MSWord that came as a trial offer on this computer.


Factoid of the day:

  • Studies of y-chromosomal and mitochondrial DNA indicate that a majority of Icelanders are descended from Scandinavian men and Celtic women, as a result of Viking slave raids on Ireland.
and the Irish women weren't the only women they brought along with them: LINK

 Attention kids:

You can now find the Hobbit in Latin.

Father Z is ecstatic.

Probably the real problem is finding a school that teaches Latin. This wasn't a problem in the past (I took both Latin and German in high school, and thanks to the Latin I picked up Spanish quickly, and it also helped with the anatomy terms in medical school).

so where can you find a Latin class on line?

quite a few on line courses LINK LINK
the Cambridge course has videos on youtube.

and Mythgard's course is accredited...

no, I'm not going to take the course...I'm still struggling with Tagalog.

the deepest rift on earth Idaho?
A huge preserve located in the Snake River Plan in Central Idaho, Craters of the Moon is protected because of the area's many volcanic features that represent one of the best preserve flood basalt areas in the continental United States. At an average elevation of nearly 6,000 feet, Craters of the Moon encompasses three major lava fields and nearly 400 square miles of sagebrush steppe grasslands.
Visitors flock to this protected area to see the lava fields, which all sit along the Great Rift of Idaho. Some of the open rift cracks are among the best known anywhere in the world, including the deepest rift on Earth, which measures 800 feet. More than two dozen volcanic cones represent lava flows from between 15,000 and 2,000 years ago.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cat item of the day

Crafting with Cat Hair

Are your favorite sweaters covered with cat hair? Are there fur balls piled up in every corner of your home? And do you love to make quirky and one-of-a-kind crafting projects? If so, it's time to throw away your lint roller and curl up with your kitty! "Crafting with Cat Hair" shows readers how to transform stray clumps of fur into soft and adorable handicrafts. From kitty tote bags and finger puppets to fluffy cat toys, picture frames, and more, these projects are cat-friendly, eco-friendly, and require no special equipment or training. You can make most of these projects in under an hour-with a little help, of course, from your feline friends!

via Dave Barry:

and for those of you who liked Abraham Lincoln Vampire hunter, or Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, here is a new book for your enjoyment:

“One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that he had been changed into an adorable kitten.”

Gift items for those on your list.

Just what any man on your list wants:

A genuine  Heng Long 1/16 German Panther RC Battle Tank w/Automatic Electric 6MM BB Gun System with Tank Smoke
But why stop there?

why not get him the real thing? 

only $195 000, down from $250,000...

Via Dave Barry:

Stuff below the fold

Hieropraxis reports that they are planning to put up a plaque to CS Lewis at Westminister's Poet corner.


MariaElena at Tea at Trianon has written a historical novel about the Cathars, notes:

  Regarding the Albigensian Crusade, it was really fought over salt. The South of France had vast reserves of salt and the North invaded. Heresy was an excuse for a war of conquest. The papacy had very little to do with it.
I ran across this book, which tells the fascinating story of Salt in world history...


The good news of the day: Fukushima area is now planning to restart allowing farmers to grow rice. The fields have been decontaminated


I don't think the western news noticed it, but there was a major fire in a clothing factory in Bangladesh that killed 110 workers, mainly women.

And the really bad part is that it may have been arson, and there are reports that management locked doors to keep workers from escaping...

Global voices has the background, including photos of the tragedy, and interviews of locals,
but also notes that letting women work in factories has empowered women to get out of poverty.
The world’s third-largest garments export industry employs more than 3 million workers, 90% of whom are women.
remember that last part when you read about Walmart's sweatshops. 

All your internet belong to us? The UN is trying to grab the internet, and the left is silent at this attempt to squish freedom of speech. more here.

But Google is trying to stop it.

it's not the first time Google took on the problem LINK

And a "Facepalm" moment hits the NYTimes:

Hospitals Face Pressure to Avert Readmissions 

Dr. Lynch said Barnes-Jewish set up follow-up appointments for patients who didn’t have their own doctors. But about half of the patients never showed up, he said, even after the hospital made reminder phone calls and arranged for free rides. Sending nurses to see patients at home did not significantly reduce readmission rates either, he said.
Yup. Sounds like our patients.

then there is this:
With pressure to avert readmissions rising, some hospitals have been suspected of sending patients home within 24 hours, so they can bill for the services but not have the stay counted as an admission. 

How they use Cellphones for banking in Kenya.

Video download of the day


Want to get more depressed?

Wild Strawberries should do the trick..


.this one has subtitles.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cat item of the day


Family News

Brownout all's dry season and since we get a lot of our electricity via hydroelectric power, we get rolling brownouts...not many now, but right before the monsoon they are at least once a week.

When it is brownout, I can use the computer but power surges from the generator are a problem, so I avoid it.

Lolo is wheezing...don't know if it's allergy or what, but if I run the airconditioner with a filter (i.e. low cool  or just fan) he seems to be a lot better (may be allergy since if I stay in the room I don't have to take an antihistamine or drink a lot of coffee).

Christmas music take two

The Vatican has mp3 downloads of choir music for your listening pleasure.

Headlines below the fold

Everything is bad: the rebels in the Congo took over Goma (and are probably funded by a nearby country). StrategyPage has the details, but it has more to do with tribes than artificial "countries" devised by Europeans, and more to do with who controls the wealth than with countries per se.

Either an american diplomat or the husband of an American embassy worker was killed at the gate of his gated village in Makati after arguing with unknowns, one of whom was a local university student. This was at 3 am and no reason given for a married man coming home that late alone.

Another Pinoy oil rig worker has died in the Baton Rouge hospital burn center... from an accident on a oil rig off of Lousiana...the company has a history of problem, but the accident occured while doing maintanence on a rig that wasn't working.

 Lots of politics in the news: apparantly if you Criticize someone named Rice, it is racism, but only if her first name is Susan, not Condi. and only if you question her competence, not if you actually call her the "n word"...

 "doxing" is illegal (this is when a blogger etc releases the address of a government employee with the intent that his or her readers harass them). Stacy McCain is on it...

the rocket barrage against Israel was mastermined by Iran, but the world's leftists, even here, are protesting that Israel hit back...and Spengler notes that the "conservative media" is playing nice with Hamas too...

what is really being ignored: It's a deliberate distraction from the Shiite/Iranian attempt to stop a Sunni/Saudi/Alqueda take over of Syria.

And the Kurds are the wild card...

Will the next "new" country be Catalonia?

and what about Texas? Probably a mirage, but remember that Texas, like Hawaii, was once an independent country....

Christmas music take two

Andrew Rieu's Christmas concert:

or maybe you might like the Celtic Women
Yes, I know: Advent doesn't start until next Sunday....

Celtic Music downloads for Christmas

Celtic Christmas podcasts for your listening pleasure can be found here.

more celtic music podcast links at Celtic music magazine...many of them download via iTunes.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Gift idea of the week

I love my leatherman, even though they tend to "disappear" when we lend them to staff to use (I've lost two so far). But this gadget looks like a great idea for a nurse or EMT:

Developed for uniformed medics, this scissor-like multi-tool features 420HC stainless steel shears, a strap cutter, a carbide glass breaker, a ring cutter, a ruler, and an oxygen tank wrench. Available May 2013.

headsup notcot

Hobbit stuff

Post Production vlog: showing how they do computer magic.

and a fan video of all the trailers/TV spots combined; LINK

of course, if you prefer reality, also coming soon: World War Z and Jack the Giant Killer

Cat item of the day


Stuff below the fold

In France, even cheese is sexy....


It's now Cardinal Tagle.


Factoid of the day: Catholics accept a lot of modern biblical scholarship, but the press seems surprised that the Pope's new book does too.

But this is a factoid I didn't know: Rome stole Christmas from the Christians.
a 2003 article “Calculating Christmas” by Prof. William Tighe in Touchstone magazine.
Many Christians think that Christians celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25th because the church fathers appropriated the date of a pagan festival. Almost no one minds, except for a few groups on the fringes of American Evangelicalism, who seem to think that this makes Christmas itself a pagan festival. But it is perhaps interesting to know that the choice of December 25th is the result of attempts among the earliest Christians to figure out the date of Jesus’ birth based on calendrical calculations that had nothing to do with pagan festivals.
Rather, the pagan festival of the “Birth of the Unconquered Son” instituted by the Roman Emperor Aurelian on 25 December 274, was almost certainly an attempt to create a pagan alternative to a date that was already of some significance to Roman Christians. Thus the “pagan origins of Christmas” is a myth without historical substance.

Via GetReligionBlog:

When you worry about TEOTWAWKI, maybe you need to remember how it almost ended...and didn't...

the world did not end in 1883. A new paper reinterpreting old astronomical data argues that a massive comet disintegrated near Earth and its fragments passed as close as 600km from us in August of that year. Technology Review summarizes just what this could have meant:
Manterola and co end their paper by spelling out just how close Earth may have come to catastrophe that day. They point out that Bonilla observed these objects for about three and a half hours over two days. This implies an average of 131 objects per hour and a total of 3275 objects in the time between observations.
Each fragment was at least as big as the one thought to have hit Tunguska. Manterola and co end with this: “So if they had collided with Earth we would have had 3275 Tunguska events in two days, probably an extinction event.”


headsup Instapundit.

Want an original gift idea? Check out suggestions at RandomGoodStuff...

everything from a tentacle arm to Bacon soda...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Family news

Chano and family are working hard to fill the order for the rice gift packages for Christmas.

We have the rice (may have to mill it fresh, but that's not a problem). The problem is milling it, bagging it, and then making gift bags of local burlap with a capiz pointsetta to decorate it.

We have some left over capize pointsettas from last year but it means subcontracting with our capiz workers again, and buying supplies.

In the meanwhile, the driver/handiman has found a used water pump...will have to wait until Monday to get the money from the bank to pay for it....only 3 more days to put up with 90 db grinding for 4-5 hours a's so loud that the neighbor complained...we do turn it off later at night, although last evening we ran out of water and I had to run it from 7 to 9 to get enough water for the washing up etc. during the night.

Ah, the wonders of living in a tropical paradise!

Cat item of the day


While you were Thanking Whoever

I read in the paper that the US President again proclaimed thanks to whoever, not mentioning the name of the deity. Sigh. But the world is going on, and just ignore Drudge and the latest Poopsiegate in the news. ---------------------------------------

That new SARS-like virus in the middle East just killed a few more people. -------------------------------------

The Syrian rebels have sophisticated Russian made anti aircraft missiles... and they got them from Libya:
No Middle Eastern or NATO country has bought SA-24s (only Brazil, Libya, Russia, Slovenia, Venezuela and Vietnam have). The new Libyan government may have recovered some of the SA-24s its predecessor (Kaddafi) bought and shipped them to the rebels (along with the many other weapons Libya has been sending the rebels). Wherever they came from, there is little doubt that the SA-24s are there.
Maybe this has something to do with the murder of the US ambassador?

Sounds like Iran-Contra cover up, but don't ask the press to investigate...but this one could be a lot worse:
Since the 1970s, about 40 commercial aircraft have been brought down by Russian portable anti-aircraft missiles (usually older SA-7s), killing over 500 people


Iron dome however may have changed the balance of power.

oh yes: Morsi declared himself the new Pharoah: and like Pharaoh he is above the law.



Friday, November 23, 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Video of the day

Feeling down?
The film Moonstruck is now on line at for you to watch or download.

That's Amore!

Family news

Chano and family back from Manila and said they have a new contract to sell our organic rice. That is good news.

Yes, it is Thanksgiving but we don't celebrate it here (in past years we were invited to Manila to celebrate with some Americans in a church group Chano was associated with, but this year we are too busy to go).

Happy Thanksgiving

Cynical Philippine stories below the fold

Spin Spin Spin...
Most of these are local stories

NGO's call for Filipino candidates of 2013 to take up children's causes

who could be against putting food into the mouths of babes (to paraphrase Churchill).

But of course, if you check the small print you find:
Anna Lindenfors, Country Director of Save the Children in the Philippines..(complained)
“Almost half of the population in the Philippines are children. With a population growth rate of nearly 2% per year, not enough resources are made available to ensure their rights are realized,” she said.
Yes, it is not about children, it's about the RH bill to stop them from being born...
I am for voluntary programs to supply birth control, but the bill mandates coercion to both the health care workers (who can't opt out of prescribing them) and (in this hierarchical society people obey authority figures) pressuring those who want medical care to think if they don't agree they won't get treatment.

And why the stress on free contraception when one third of our moms deliver without a trained birth attendant, our local open ditch sewers that breed mosquitoes that spread Dengue fever are rarely cleaned our, and our clinics don't give free antibiotics to sick children?

Pinoy novelist gets an award from an American literature magazine.

So is it about the nuns who risked their lives during the EDSA revolt against Marcos? Is it about a woman OFW worrying about her kids while working as a maid in Saudi and resisting sexual harassment by her employers? Is it about a local radio reporter trying to fight local corruption despite death threats?
Of course not.

Soliman “transforms herself from bookish rich girl to communist rebel”. A conflict arises when she questions her principles; is she really is committed to the communist movement or just to the man she falls in love with?
Yes, another novel about a spoiled narcissistic rich girl who finds salvation in leftist wonder the book is popular in the US.

Presumably the novel doesn't mention the NPA "recruited" child soldiers, killed innocent farmers, the dissadents in their party, or the many Chinoy businessmen who were kidnapped and murdered.


Why there was no decent security in Benghazi: bureaucrats said that they didn't need it.

The State Department had security personnel available for use in Libya but had apparently created ROE (Rules of Engagement) for Libya that relied on Libyans to provide most of the security and to keep American security personnel to a minimum. Many State Department personnel who had served in the Middle East believed this was a major error but they were ignored, along with calls for security contractors (who can be brought in if you make enough fuss). 

Iron Dome Spoils Hamas Surprise Attack

Reagan was right. I remember when he was ridiculed for funding the "Star Wars" anti missile system...but it hasn't stopped the left wing press in the US from saying Iron Dome had nothing to do with Reagan.

What is it with Obama and hugs and touching female leaders?

He bows to the Chinese and Saudis, but feels up the PM of Thailand and Nobel Prize winning Syu Kee of Burma...

But of course he won't offend his Chinese masters by siding with the Philippines and VietNam in the Chinese  grab of the west Philippine sea.

nothing like a nice war against their small neighbors to distract the 100 million Chinese living in poverty from the government corruption...however, last time they tried in 1979, they won a Pyrrhic victory over Vietnam...

There are at least 120 Philippine OFW in Gaza, but only a few want to leave.
So what's the problem? 

According to Del Rosario, Israel has guaranteed Filipinos safe passage out of Gaza, saying “they will treat Filipinos as they treat their own citizens concerning their welfare,” said Del Rosario.
The Embassy, however, reported that Hamas has blocked the open crossing that Israel established to allow foreigners out of the conflict zone. It charged Hamas of holding hostage foreigners who would like to flee the conflict.
however, the 41,000 OFW in Israel are not asking to leave because their employers let them into their bomb shelters when the missiles are near.

The good news of the day: Hero dog Kabang is doing better after chemotherapy.
Kabang was first recognized internationally as the dog that heroically saved two young girls from being run over by leaping in the path of a speeding motorcycle.

Though the girls escaped unscathed, the hero dog paid a high price with her snout and upper jaw torn apart, exposing her throat to infection.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Video of the day take two


Video download of the day


Filipino Fil Ams and the Buffalo soldiers

An article at Woyingi blog, with more essays linked at the end.

One wonders about the part where relatives treated the children of mixed Filipina/Black marriages as servants: Perhaps not "racism" but culture: because here, most richer folks have Chinese or Spanish blood (Chinoy or metziso) and the farm workers tend to be darker, and the Aeta, who tend to live tribal ways, very dark.

But there still is intermarriage with American service men: At least one of our neighbors is an American black from the south married to a local lady...

Another article about the Philippine attempt to prevent the American takeover in 1898, along with information about the Buffalo soldiers and their dilemma in shooting insurgents who they probably agreed with HERE.

Mark Twain was one of the American writers who opposed the war.

Lolo's family, like many from this area, were opposed to the American takeover.

On the other hand, the rebels were actually fighting for their traditional leaders, not for personal freedom...this was a feudal society, and the bad news is that, after the war, the Americans let the important families run things anyway...

yet they also rebuilt the education system by sending the Thomasite teachers, which is allowing folks from less important clans to escape poverty,
The Thomasites transformed the Philippines into the third largest English-speaking nation in the world. These teachers also introduced the country to the notion that education is not only for the elite but for ordinary people as well.

although usually it means finding a job in Saudi, since even our farmers, who now own their traditional fields, cannot make a good living despite land their kids migrate elsewhere to work and send money home so they can send their siblings to school and have a decent house (concrete, not bamboo, with electricity, TV, and a cellphone)...

Stuff below the fold

The "I fought the Law and the Law Won" story of the day:

The Ruthlessness of Gravity
Years ago, I tried crossing a downhill street plated with glare ice (friction is one of our few weapons against gravity) and could no more walk across that street than I could fly.  And for the first time, I understood what gravity was capable of.  It doesn’t negotiate, it can’t be avoided, it runs this place like an absolute dictatorship.
the unintended consequences story of the day:

Water Saving leads to the big stink.
 Water conservation can lead to smellier sewers and more corrosion in sewer pipes, according to new research.
Yeah, we see that in our open trench sewer system now, during the dry season: they are full of smelly sludge (and plastic bags) and that terrible black algae growing in all the drainage ditches...the good news is that probably mosquito larvae can't survive there...


The Physics of Bad Piggies.


Drudge has a headline about a new bill in the US Congress to allow government monitoring of email without a warrant.

But StrategyPage points out that emails are not exactly secret anyway.

Email has been an enormously useful intelligence gathering tool, mainly because it so damn convenient and police and intelligence agencies can easily get access to anything that is transmitted via an email network. There are techniques terrorists can use to make their communications more secure, but most don't know them, or don't bother to use them. Things like leaving email as a draft, rather than sending it, or using encryption. But even techniques like these make your messages vulnerable to interception. The recently resigned head of the CIA found this out the hard way when he was reminded that the old “leaving email as a draft” dodge has long since been turned into something all intel agencies watch carefully.

The "WAGD" post of the day:

Eruption fears rise at Mount Doom:
A New Zealand volcano that featured as Mount Doom in The Lord of the Rings movies is in danger of erupting as pressure builds in a subterranean vent, officials warn

Bond...James Bond

 The Catholic links of James Bond:

A Facebook friend alerted me to the blog “Roman Christendom” which details in a post from 2009 that the author of the James Bond series, Ian Fleming, either consciously or unconsciously, associated the Bond character with the Bonds of Dorset, a recusant Catholic family. The post is really worth a read. There is another Catholic link to the Bond mythology that came to me via Facebook. Joanne McPortland who writes the always insightful and interesting “Egregious Twaddle”, told me about one of the real historical figures that inspired Fleming’s James Bond was a real life spy by the name of Sidney Reilly, who at one time courted the Catholic mystic Caryll Houselander . If you have never heard of or read Houselander’s literary corpus you are missing out on some of the best spiritual writing of the last century.

It is hard to think of Caryll Houselander as a “Bond Girl”, but truth is stranger than fiction- and at least in terms of what seems to be the Catholic connection to James Bond, somewhat more interesting.
So the name Bond comes from a (secret) Catholic family,
Fleming would have known of the family (as the blogger Tribunus argues in an unusually sober post - by his standards - here) and he even gave his fictional Bond their real-life coat of arms (as seen in On Her Majesty's Secret Service) and motto ('Orbis non sufficit The world is not enough').
hence the "priesthole" in the movie...
 and Fleming was probably was aware of  the Elizabethan Spy John Bond.

Sidney Reilly is best known for the BBC miniseries Reilly Ace of Spades. He was actually Russian and his father was Jewish...

Houselander is best known for the book Reed of God, about the virgin Mary.

Headsup from Tea at Trianon, 
who notes:
My posts on Sidney Reilly, the real James Bond, and Caryll Houselander are HERE and HERE
addendum: no, I am not a Bond fan, but Lolo is, so I've had to watch all the films on TV.

Factoid of the day

Funny, I don't remember this part in the movie: Jane was killed by the evil Germans? Huh?

Audiobook at Librivox:

Tarzan the Untamed

by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875 - 1950)
This book follows Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar chronologically. The action is set during World War I. While away from his plantation home in East Africa, invading German troops destroy it and kill his wife Jane and the Waziri warrior Wasimbu who is left crucified.

one of 26 audiobooks by Edgar Rice Burroughs at Librivox...

Obviously written during the anti German propaganda era of World War I. And Burroughs made up most of the African stuff himself, of course. There is no Waziri tribe, for example...

The background for the novel is Germany's East African campaign, which was pretty bloody, at least for the locals, and much of the fighting was done by Germans and the German's African soldiers on their side and South Africans and Indians on the British side, often using local people to carry supplies.

The British Commonwealth forces lost over 10,000 men, ⅔ of them from disease. German losses were about 2,000. But the black people of East Africa suffered far more as carriers who died from disease, exhaustion and military action. One modern estimate is 100,000 dead on all sides. Black civilians also suffered dreadfully. War devastated many localities, bringing hunger, disease and death in its train. Thousands of Africans perished in the outbreak of influenza that swept over their continent at the end of the war.

Here is another point of view: a sympathetic article about the Germans and their Askaris troops. 

correction: I accidentally wrote World War fixed. This of course happened during the First World War, when Germany still had colonies in Africa.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The good news of the day

Bimbo heart Twinkies

According to the Christian Science Monitor, while food producers ConAgra and Flowers Food, the American company behind Nature Valley granola, have expressed interest along with Little Debbie baker McKee Foods, Mexico’s Grupo Bimbo may hold the inside track.

Grupo Bimbo is the world’s largest bread-baking firm, which already owns parts of Sara Lee, Entenmann’s and Thomas English Muffins and previously made what was considered a low-ball offer of $580 million a few years ago, Forbes reports. Now Hostess may only be worth $135 million.
But I bet you didn't see this: the real reason the company was in trouble:
Economists say high sugar prices tied to US trade tariffs were a big reason Hostess was struggling, but a Mexican company could be a lifeline for Twinkies because it would be able to take advantage of access to lower-priced sugar in Mexico.

Non PC LOL's of the day

For Democrats:

Stories below the fold

Middle Earth radio taken down to protest Obama's reelection?

Oh well: the European based Father Roderick's podcasts are still around to keep up on what's going on, as are the Riddles in the Dark podcast by the Tolkien professor...

Another article by "experts" saying let your child suffer with a high fever, which helps him fight infection.

Sorry, but I think 5000 years (at least) of Mom's insisting we lower the fever has some merit.
and the experts base their instruction on "opinions" not hard science.
and no, it is not "big pharma" causing the problem: even our tribal African moms would dose their kids with herbs for fevers: to stop overdoses, we gave out bottles of vitamin placebo for them to use instead.

Most of the opinions are based on questionable studies (including self reporting and theoretical reasons)....Anyone do any "double blind studies" on animal fever? I couldn't find any with a quick google...

While trying to google for "fever" in babies (and failing to find any good scientific studies) I ran across this delightful study:

GaGa for GooGoo

analyzing why people want children.

Includes this:
the researchers found three factors that consistently predicted how much a person wanted to have a baby. The first factor was positive exposure -- such as holding and cuddling babies, looking after babies and looking at baby clothes and toys -- that made people want to have a baby. The second factor included negative exposure -- such as babies crying, children having tantrums and diapers, spit-up or other 'disgusting' aspects of babies -- that made people not want to have a baby. The third factor included trade-offs that come with having children -- education, career, money and social life.
which is why if one woman in the workplace has a baby, soon others start getting starry eyed then pregnant...
and why the idea of globalists, to free women for the workforce to improve the economy and save money by limiting families, works against motherhood.


This movie review for the new "Anna Karenina" gives it a thumbs down:
those sorrows come across as tepid, due in part to the fact that the bland, 20-something actor playing Vronsky, who bears a vague resemblance to a mustachioed Justin Bieber, seems more boy toy than heartthrob ..

Well, actually the Vronsky character was a boy the novel... Sounds like this movie is the usual meme "evil good people drive Anna nuts because they disapprove of her pure love".

But in the book, Anna is self destructive: adultery wasn't the problem in her circle, as long as you kept it she wasn't exactly ostracized. But if you read the novel, she saw herself as "good" and then reframes her husband as "cold and uncaring" in her insisted that everyone approve of her actions, even those outside her sophisticated circle, and when they didn't approve, she became self destructive and her behavior very erratic...

and I never could figure the reason for her erratic behavior (it seemed to go beyond guilt or depression) until I saw the TV version, which openly shows she got addicted to drugs and alcohol,(although her addiction was probably "innocent" to start with, becoming addicted after being given morphine when she was suffering from childbed fever)...

Since everyone is rewriting famous novels from the bad guys's point of view (from Grendel to the one about Mr Rochester's wife) maybe someone should write a novel from nerdy but reliable husband's point of view, or even Vronsky, whose flirtation with a married woman (very common back then) left him saddled with an erratic "wife" who destroyed his career and life...which is why ironically his mother is one of the few in the book who calls Anna an "evil" woman (most of the good people in the book see her as a good woman who fell into evil ways and they want to rescue her from it)...

Related item: I finally got around to watching the Brad Pitt movie on "Troy".
They seem to have changed a few of the details from the book.
But ironically, they did what good story tellers do: reframe the story to their audience and, to use a Tolkien comparison, take some parts and make it into a new stew.
So the Achilles theme (which was about accepting death) is reframed into accepting death and mercy, and the mercy part, which in the book is found in Priam's visit, is changed by love for Breseis...

And the ending is a bit fake: Achilles trying to save Breseis, but killed accidentally because Paris thought he was doing the's not in Homer, but later stories attribute his death to being in love with Priam's daughter Polyxena....and he died in an ambush while making a sacrifice with the aim to marry her and end the war...

So is the rewrite accurate? No, but it is good story telling. Having Paris steal a wife during signing a peace treaty makes the insult more important to modern men, who don't recognize his breech of the taboo of visitors. And the more modern themes of love changing people is in the movie: so not only Achilles learns compassion, but by the end of the film, Paris goes from being a coward and a boytoy to a responsible man.

Too bad they had to kill of Menaleus, however. And I like Sean Bean's portrayal of Olysses: the best one I've seen since the old Kirk Douglas version.


Important question of the day:When Brain Implants arrive, will we still be "us"?

Kurzweil discusses this in a longer article at Slate.

Not a new discussion: Are we merely a "ghost in the machine", or as the ancient philosophers insisted, a combination of mind, body, and soul...the ancients recognized the mind and soul were not the same, and perhaps we should do the same, as the mind can be destroyed by drugs, injury, or improved by drugs and modern medicine, but the soul is the inner "ME"...don't believe me? Ask your wife if when raging hormones affect her mind and body if she is in reality a raging beast or merely a nice woman who wants to do the right thing but is not able to control the anger caused by too much progesterone...

Mrs. Gay Caswell continues her fight with the local bureaucracy in the oh so politically correct Canada...

give it a few years, and all the Christian schools in the US may face a similar problem.

Uncle Orson rereads and then reviews the classic "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich"...

and shudders at parallels to today's world's propaganda and political spin. He also reviews books on WWI and the American Civil war...

Factoid of the day

from LiveScience

A 4,000-year-old skeleton discovered in India is the oldest known archaeological evidence of leprosy. The fact that the skeleton survived suggests the person was an outcast: Hindu tradition calls for cremation, and only those deemed unfit were buried.
more HERE.
Before this skeleton was found, there was a question where the disease originated.

The latter half of the third millennium B.C. was a period of social complexity in this civilization, characterized by urbanization, a system of writing, standardized weights and measures, monumental architecture, and trade networks that stretched to Mesopotamia and beyond.
The presence of leprosy in India toward the end of this period indicates that M. leprae existed in South Asia at least 4000 years ago, which lends support to the idea that the disease migrated between Africa and Asia during a period of urbanization, increasing population density, and regular inter-continental trade networks.

The Breezy Point Madonna

Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

The New York Times has an article on the flooded area of Breezy Point, that later burnt down, and the Madonna that stayed there to comfort folks.

The statue is one of the only recognizable remnants of the swath of Breezy Point where more than 100 homes burned to the ground while a flood kept firefighters from reaching it. Since the waters withdrew early on Oct. 30, the image of the Breezy Point Madonna has reached the nation, indeed the world, through vivid news photos. Pilgrims have come to leave offerings: a bouquet of yellow roses, four quarters, a votive candle, a memorial card for the victims of Sept. 11, a written admonition that healing begins with acceptance...
“It will be a symbol of the suffering,” Monsignor Curran said of the statue, “but also of our rise from the ashes. It will be a symbol of what we’ve been through but also of our resurrection. It will be a reminder that for all the property we lost, God never left.”
these madonnas are quite common in working class catholic areas. We had ours in the back yard, where we could see it when we sat out in the evening after supper, but our neighbor had one in the front of his garden facing the street....

He was a retired coal miner, and his five suns were mechanics or coal miners....

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pstt: Top secret: Pass it on...


Ah, but don't worry:

Top Secret recipes has instructions on making

Hostes Twinkie Recipe

 Twinkies creme filling.

or you can try the Twinkies Gluten Free recipes

or if you prefer chocolate, here's the recipe for Dingdongs.

how to clone a twinkie video


and then there is the Twinkie project...

a bunch of geeks experimented on Twinkies, and published their Haiku:

The Experiments

Twinkies don't burn well
unless doused in alcohol.
Then they make good fires.

Twinkies in water
expand to near twice their size
and look really gross.

When they are pureed
Twinkies can be compressed much.
Really mostly air.

Do Twinkies conduct?
Run lots of current through them.
Very resistive.

Dropped off of sixth floor
Twinkies are not injured much.
Just a small fissure.

Microwaved Twinkies
emit a great deal of smoke
and smell very bad.

Is the Twinkie smart?
Is it just ignoring us?
Maybe never know.

Poor control Twinkie.
Its conditions never change.
I guess I'll eat it.


headsup FreeRepublic. 

"Do you like gladiator movies?"

I was just checking youtube about the old Helen of Troy miniseries (LINK LINK2) and guess what? It's full of the old "sword and sorcery" type movies.

What young boys watched before they had playboy.

And then there is this historical gem...

or if you prefer your humor British style, try CarryOnCleo...
all of which reminds me of this...
which I would post but this is a PG rated blog...

Musical Interlude of the day

Mozart, anyone?


Yesterday was the feast of Christ the King, so mass was crowded...we left before the procession (which the kids love, which is why mass was crowded...)
In the US, the kids are kept in the "crying room" but here, the babies are usually quiet (rare to hear one crying). Of course, the restless kids do tend to prance quietly up the aisles before they are grabbed by mom or an older sibling and taken outside to play. We don't have Aircon in church here, only fans mounted on the walls, but all the doors are kept open.

So that means the bugs and birds (and sometimes the dogs) wander in and out too.

as the bible says:
Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young--a place near your altar, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
so watch your head...
That part in the bible about the birds finding nests in your altars? your head.

Those cuddley Dwarves

Brian Sibley had an article on the art of Disney's Snow White, which along with the Hobbit has revised the traditional "evil dwarf" as a sympathetic character.

 watch it here


The "WAGD" post of the day


the latest scandal: Photoshopping a child killed by a Hamas rocket as a child killed by Israel. And of course 30 years of the MSM ignoring the toxic education of the Arab media propaganda. Sigh.

Magellan had it coming

Tea at Trianon Blog has a book review about Magellan.

Yes, the Philippines is mentioned there too:

By the end of their adventures in South East Asia, where Magellan was hacked to pieces in the Philippines by an irate chieftain, there was only one ship left out of the original five. The caravel Victoria was sailed back to Spain by the Basque captain Juan Sebastian Elcano, amid many hardships. 

Of course locals remember it a little differently:

The plaque is a bit ingeneous: He wasn't planning to invade, just get restocked in food and water. But his men, once they were recovered from scurvy, decided to enjoy the delights of local Pinays, and their men got a bit annoyed.

On the other hand, Magellan did leave a legacy behind him: The Santo Nino de Cebu.

and LapuLapu? His name is commemorated in the most delicious local fish.

And factoid of the day:

Magellan wasn't Spanish, he was Portuguese (he only worked for the Spanish).

Gift item of the day

StrategyPage has an article on "DIY" Submarines.

November 18, 2012: Over the last two decades, luxury boat builders have begun building recreational submarines in large quantities. There are now hundreds of them in use, some built by hobbyists...
At the low end you have hobbyist home-builts that cost less than $50,000 for components, plus over a thousand hours of labor by the do-it-yourself submarine builders. Commercial subs starts at a $100,000

Wired has an article about it HERE.
You can buy a kit here for $50 thousand dollars.

Philippines in the world news

Oil company BP will pay a measly 4 billion for destroying the Gulf coast due to being too cheap to fix a plug, but the latest news about a fire of another oil platform that killed 2 and injured 14 will probably get little press in the US. Why? Because most of those killed/injured were Filipinos.

Probably a million Filipinos work in Saudi/Persian Gulf region: and although most are probably health care workers, clerks or drivers, quite a few work in blue collar jobs, including in the oil fields. They also work in the petroleum industry in countries from Kazakhstan to Nigeria.

StrategyPage has an article on piracy: most of the headlines is about Somalian pirates, but it is present in other areas.
Last time I check, over 100 of the mariners held hostage in Somalia are Filipino seamen, but piracy affects other  sea-lanes, including the South China sea and various Indonesian straits.

according to Wikipedia, 25 percent of the 1.5 million seamen are from the Philippines, and yes one of our relatives is a seaman.

University of Houston has a course on the history of Piracy if you are interested in the subject.


Want to invest money? The only country who was upgraded by the IMF is the Philippines.

StrategyPage reviews a book on the Buffalo soldiers.
The other half of the book is devoted to the service of black volunteers in the Spanish-American and Philippine Wars.  As these are largely overlooked subjects, the essays are often ground breaking. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cat Item of the day


actually, we give them a bath in our shower, which has a hand held shower head. We remove the shower curtain then
put the cat across Lolo's shower chair, with legs off the sides, and hold them down while we wash them...which isn't very often.

Related item: from Librivox: Cats by the Way 

by Sarah E. Trueblood (1849-1918)
Between these pages you will find only the good, old-fashioned, every-day cat. No Angora or thoroughbred has been entered here, unless it be "Hansie," who is little more than mentioned. 

more cat stories:

  1. Aesop. "Belling the Cat" (in "Junior Classics (vol 1), The") · (readers)
  2. Baum, L. Frank. "Pussy Cat Mew (from Mother Goose in Prose)" (in "Bed Time Stories for Aidan Christopher") · (readers)
  3. Brauns, David. "Cat's Elopement, The" (in "Coffee Break Collection 005 - Love and Relationships") · (readers)
  4. Cox, Kenyon. "Octopussycat, The" (in "Wit and Humor of America, The Vol 06") · (readers)
  5. Crane, Walter. "Cat and the Fox, The" (in "Baby's Own Aesop") · (readers)
  6. Crane, Walter. "Cat and Venus, The" (in "Baby's Own Aesop") · (readers)
  7. Crooke, William. "Cat and the Sparrows, The" (in "Cocoa Break Collection") · (readers)
  8. Hearn, Lafcadio. "Boy Who Drew Cats" (in "Children's Short Works, Vol. 010") · (readers)
  9. Jerome, Jerome K.. "On Cats and Dogs" (in "Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Fellow") · (readers)
  10. Lawson, Henry. "Bush Cats" (in "Australian Miscellany") · (readers)
  11. Lee, Mrs R.. "Cats" (in "Cat Tales") · (readers)
  12. Lovecraft, H. P.. "Cats of Ulthar, The" (in "Short Story Collection Vol. 007") · (readers)
  13. Lynd, Robert. "Cats" (in "Short Nonfiction Collection Vol. 008") · (readers)
  14. Norton, Andre. "All Cats are Gray" (in "Short Science Fiction Collection 019") · (readers)
  15. Reid, Mayne. "Cats" (in "Cat Tales") · (readers)
  16. Weir, Harrison. "Our Cats and All About Them" · (readers)
  17. Winslow, Helen M.. "Concerning Cats: My Own and Some Others" · (readers)
  18. Wodehouse, P. G.. "Man Who Disliked Cats, The" (in "Selected Short Stories.") · (readers)
  19. Miller, Olive Beaupre. "Three Little Kittens" (in "In the Nursery of My Bookhouse") · (readers)
  20. Pierson, Clara Dillingham. "Kitten Who Lost Herself, The" (in "Cat Tales") · (readers)
  21. Wells, Carolyn. "Funny Kittens, The" (in "Jingle Book, The") · (readers)
  22. Wordsworth, William. "Kitten and Falling Leaves, The" (in "Long Poems Collection 006") · (readers)

Stuff below the fold

Are Giants beings from outer space, or just very large humans (who just look like giants because everyone else is short)?

Ancient Standard discusses.
Found inside an abnormally long tomb, the man’s height measured 6 feet, 8 inches (202cm)—which would have been gigantic in ancient Rome, where the typical man averaged about 5.5 feet (167cm). For comparison, it’s worth noting that the modern-day “tallest man” is 8 feet, 3 inches high (251 cm).
They discuss if it was due to "giantism" (i.e. pituitary  problems) but it could also be nutrition related: I saw this in my son's home in southern Colombia. They were 5'6", and a little taller than most of the men in the area, but when we went across the border to visit Ecuador, where it was poorer, the average man was only about 5'0"...
Similarly, the children attending high schools (boarding schools) in Zimbabwe tended to be a few inches larger than the local kids who did not, again due to nutrition.

which is why the Romans and Greeks who ate the low fat/low protein "Mediterranean diet" were so short next to the cattle raising barbarians, and American soldiers tended to be smaller than the Native Americans of the plains who hunted.

Nat Geo has a new film on the Human family presumably a remake of the previous special.

Dr. Mary Beard notices the eco nannies in L.A.

The hotel I'm in is already a good start -- "environmentally friendly" gone engagingly mad. I mean not just the usual (sensible) notice in the bathroom about using your towel more than once, but also a rather stern list on instructions left on the pillow about refilling your own reusable bottle of water from the tap, and turning off the lights when you are out of the room, etc.
All of this is absolutely right, and it's what I would do anyway ("turn the bloody lights off" having been drummed into me in the womb). But -- counter-suggestibility again --when I see the rules all written down and left on my pillow, even I start to feel like turning the aircon up to maximum, and going out for the day. Or even marking myself out as a self-confessed eco-criminal by prominently displaying the "Daily laundering requested" notice.

Science news you can use: The heck with Global Warming: beware of Local Warming...

(via Improbable research): caution: put down coffee before

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Once were Giants

I usually ignore posting obvious conspiracy theories which are all over the web, but then you read stuff like this: From Atlas Obscura:

ocal legends passed down by the Paiute Indians tell of a race of giants who were exterminated by the tribe. It is said this was done by trapping the giants in a cave, shooting arrows at them, and then starting a large fire at the mouth of the cave. When the Lovelock Cave was later mined, many giant skeletons and artifacts were found in the area; there was also a large quantity of arrowheads found in the cave. Many of the artifacts were lost in a fire, but some of the skulls and artifacts are located at this museum.
You'll find a small, barely marked collection of the artifacts (arrowheads, etc.) on the second floor, in the display case by the window. The skulls themselves are kept in a back room, where the curator stores them out of view so as "not to offend the Indians." Ask her about the legend and she'll lead you downstairs to her office, where she keeps them unceremoniously lined up in a cabinet.
Yup. Legends of giants all over the place LINK

The problem, of course, is trying to figure out the real story from the crazies.
you know some reports are crazy when the Freepers pull apart their claims.

However, there are red headed albinos in some South West American tribes. (we delivered one when I was doing some training in Gallup).

Or were they Vikings who got lost? or were they Irish? or related to the red haired mummies of ancient China? Or ancient Greeks? Menaleus and Odyseus were red haired according to legend, and Athena had grey eyes.

So is there any DNA or dating evidence on the skeletons?? a few have been found to be faked in the past, ) (piltdown man was not the only "fake" in those days) but one does wonder..

And the book 1491 suggests that a lot of the advanced civilizations in the USA/Americas has been ignored.

Nat Geo article on Kennewick man and that other skulls out there are going to be tested for DNA.

The local Tribes object to the Smithsonian etc. showing off the bones of their ancestors as "artifacts", and after a century of abuse, they have the courts behind them . As a scientist, I'd like the bones to study, but more traditional cultures see the bones of their loved ones as something to be respected.

Fashion items of the day


and then there is Daryl Dixon's HelloKitty Iphone Case: 

Group think

Via NotDeadYet:

Janis identified eight symptoms that put a group of individuals at risk for falling into groupthink:
  1. Illusions of invulnerability creating excessive optimism and encouraging risk taking.
  2. Rationalising warnings that might challenge the group’s assumptions.
  3. Unquestioned belief in the morality of the group, causing members to ignore the consequences of their actions.
  4. Stereotyping those who are opposed to the group as weak, evil, disfigured, impotent, or stupid.
  5. Direct pressure to conform placed on any member who questions the group, couched in terms of “disloyalty”.
  6. Self censorship of ideas that deviate from the apparent group consensus.
  7. Illusions of unanimity among group members, silence is viewed as agreement.
  8. Mindguards — self-appointed members who shield the group from dissenting information.
NDY is talking about bioethics manipulation by those who think cripples are useless eaters (to put it bluntly) but it also seems to apply to any group.

One of the problems with groupthink is that when it is pushed by the MSM, the public ends up losing it's moral vocabulary to be able to discuss things, to recognize nuance, or even to recognize reality if it disagrees with the meme.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Hobbit stuff

Joseph Pearce interview on the Hobbit at EWTN about the Catholic references in the Hobbit.

and PhilStuffOfDoom is up to the Battle of Pellenor fields...enjoy!

TORN links to Empire which is playing the soundtrack (streaming music).

The secret to a longer life

Be married, and have lots of friends and....puppies!

will kitties do?
From Recently Updated

Food stories

YUM Brussel Sprouts!
recipes at link
one veggie we don't have here in the Philippines, thank God.

What about Second Breakfast?

Try this Blackberry cake.

No we don't have blackberries here either (although I used to collect them along the abandoned train tracks when I lived in Pennsylvania mountains).

But they do grow strawberries in Baguio...

Father Z has an article on giving out Communion to those with celiac disease...there are now gluten free hosts, and if your parish doesn't have them refer them to the link which includes addresses.



Biopharmaceutical company Coronado Biosciences is conducting clinical trials using the eggs of the pig whipworm to regulate immune activity. The treatment is centered on the “hygiene hypothesis,” which asserts that today’s sterile, germ-free homes can actually make us sick. Lack of exposure to pathogens could prevent immune systems from properly regulating, explained Dr. Bobby Sandage, CEO of Coronado.

Excuse me for being cynical, but then why are there so many autoimmune disorders among Native American?

Genetics has a lot to do with it...

As for "too clean" homes, maybe it's not the cleanliness but that they see doctors more often and get diagnosed when they have very mild disease...or maybe it is the chemicals in their diet...