Sunday, April 30, 2017

Family news

it is fiesta day, so although I managed to get to church at the dawn mass, the streets were already full of vendors and the church was packed. I made it to the doorway, and left partway through, since I tend to faint in hot crowded churches.

Oh well.

The vendor sell everything: Mainly baubles and toys for kids, but also snacks. Going up the street, I was confronted with: Bubbles.

Bubbles? Yes, one vendor was selling a water pistol that shot bubbles.

Reminded me of the Stan Freburg skit about "Turn off the bubble machine": Only funny if you remember Lawrence Welk.

The fiesta is actually tomorrow, but it starts today.

I will avoid it of course.

In the past, Lolo and all the veterans of WWII would march at the start of the parade, and they would all stay here, spending the fiesta talking and laughing and drinking imported whiskey that Lolo would bring from the USA.

With the years, they got strokes or sick or died, so now they lead the parade no more.

one of our local reporters posted last year's parade on line. This is down the street from us. In the background you can see the town square, and across the street is some of the local vendors who sells BBQ (pork, bbq chicken wings, feet, and heads... and Balut.

the local costume is... genes and teeshirts. Some Chinese teeshirts from local vendors, but you also see gifts from their family workers from overseas, saying I I heart HK or Chicago Bulls, or with Korean writing. If you are really formal, you wear the collared ones (aka polo shirt in the US).

 Each association and barangay (neighborhood) has a float or people walking or dancing. Usually it is with their saints, but it includes beautiful girls and secular themes too.

Since my stepson's family is Protestant, they pride themselves on not going. Joy will go to visit family in Bulacan, and Chano is holding an outing for his farmers etc to a local beach.

But of course, today is not the fiesta: Officially it is tomorrow.And actually, the family parties are going on all weekend.

I ran into Emy who was busy getting stuff to decorate the local barnagay chapel, and other relatives are here from overseas. Lolo would come every year when he worked in the USA also.

Family is strong here, but alas since Lolo died, in our house it is fragmenting. "Who am I to judge?" and being told who is the boss is not a good combination. Don't ask.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Another day another earthquake

not in our area

cuttting back on the snooping?

Reuters article says the NSA will cut back on snooping.

"NSA will no longer collect certain internet communications that merely mention a foreign intelligence target," the agency said in a statement. "Instead, NSA will limit such collection to internet communications that are sent directly to or from a foreign target."
NSA also said it would delete the "vast majority" of internet data collected under the surveillance program "to further protect the privacy of U.S. person communications."

of course, you will still be spied on by Russian hackers, Facebook, and Google, but it's a start.

The Patron Saint of National parks

The BBC had this film on John Muir, the explorer of the western USA, who influenced the country to preserve their natural heritage.

rejecting the negative fear of Calvinism, he found God in the beauty of nature.

more about his writings here.

Leaving home, Muir spent two and a half years as a student at the University of Wisconsin, then worked briefly in an Indiana machine shop as an inventor until a serious accident temporarily blinded him.

Deeply thankful to recover his eyesight, he decided to behold “the inventions of God,” inaugurating what would become a lifelong journey with a thousand-mile walk to the Gulf of Mexico. In his backpack he carried a copy of the New Testament – even though he had committed it to heart – alongside Milton’s Paradise Lost and a book of Robert Burns’ poetry.
... “Who shall read the teaching of these sylvan pages, the glad brotherhood of rills that sing in the valleys, and all the happy creatures that dwell in them under the tender keeping of a Father’s care?”

Fantasy, superheroes, vs chick flick death porn

See previous rant.

The "death porn chic" is PC, but there is an alternative: Hope.

Which is why I am a Tolkien geek. When he was criticized for writing escapist literature, he pointed out that there is a difference between the escape of a prisoner and the desertion of a coward.

one of the problems of depression is that the depressed person only sees one part of the story, and thinks it is reality. When you treat them with cognitive therapy, you teach them to reframe the story: To know there are different ways to see the experience, to know others went through such things, and of course, to reframe your life story.

You know, when I was a teen ager, I was supposed to read all these teenaged girl angst stuff, but I rarely did. Heck, I was a math/science smart girl, and hated by the Buffy types. Ah, but I had a brother and lots of male friends, so as a geek saw the world differently, so that having a new dress or being "popular" didn't mean as much to me as getting a good grade so I could get a scholarship to college.

so no, I didn't read stuff about poor me being bullied for being a geek.

Instead I read biographies, usually of successful women, or sci fi (this was before fantasy got popular).

Elizabeth Blackwell didn't have vapors when they guys objected to her. Florence Nightingale didn't go in the corner and cry when she was yelled out. And a lot of lady saints had guts.

but I also was able to read the sci fi books my brother brought home from the library.

Heinlein's later fiction gets a bit strange, but his juvenile novels did have strong women characters.

Heinlein's Podkayne didn't kill herself from teenaged angst; Peewee could fly a spaceship, and Mother Thing showed one could be a hard assed interplanetary investigator and still be sympathetic to "cubs".

Luckily, there are a lot of such stories out there nowadays to give hope to teengers.

I mean, you think you had it bad? What about Katnis?

My brother's daughter is a Harry Potter geek.

My boys were into StarWars. Luke was the farmboy turned hero... and used his fighting skills to save the universe.

For boys, there was always the Marvel Universe. and now, unlike 50 yaers ago, one can find strong feminine female heroes outside of Heinlein.

I introduced my granddaughter to Percy Jackson. Rick Riordan wrote the story because his kid was an awkward ADHD type, and he wanted a story where the hero was ADHD and always getting into trouble in the film.

My granddaughter loves Annabeth; me, I sort of prefer Hazel who has a lot of family problems, but tries to do the right thing, (or Leo, the tinkerer who always finds a way to fix things... sort of like what we docs do). And of course, there is the very strange intovert Nico who  actually saves the earth at the end of series one, and then realizes he is gay in series two.

I have been downloading TV series for my granddaughter: a lot of the Korean Dramas have supernatural elements (for example, Strong women is super strong but loves a guy and thinks she has to be weak to be loved) And then there is LemonySnicket and similar books made into mini series.

one hint: The new Anne of Green gables is ugly... photographically ugly I mean, at least so far, (I only saw part one). The characters are less sympathetic than the classic miniseries and in several places changed from the book so it would be more pc (anne says she can work as well as a boy? In 1890 farming? Reality check please).  Stick to the older miniseries.

my adopted sons loved the older mini series because it is about adoption. (they also like Pinocchio).

why? because it mirrored their struggles.

Anne was a partial fantasy character, being wonderful and happy to find she is loved despite her faults, and who spreads love all over. One suspects it was the author rewriting the story of her difficult childhood, being brought up by a dour grandmother.

one is reminded of the wonderful film Saving Mr Banks, where Walt Disney tells Mrs. Travers what they are actually doing in their books:

Walt Disney: George Banks and all he stands for will be saved. Maybe not in life, but in imagination. Because that's what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again and again.

The danger of death porn

New Zealand is restricting "13 reasons why" about bullying, but actually about a teen who committed suicide mainly to get revenge on those who bullied her.

One wonders: This is seen through her eyes, of course, but she is depressed and what she reports might not be true.

And of course, it will encourage more teens to believe in the fantasy that if they kill themselves, they will be able to revenge themselves on those bullying them.

Which is why NZ is restricting it's viewing to adults.

The series raises a lot of issues but often fails to fully address them, and it’s really important that trusted adults can step in at that point. "These issues need to be talked about in a way that is informed and safe – parents, guardians and other adults need to have open conversations with teens about the issues raised by the show."
 Translation: Public health authorities worry it will inspire a lot of copycat suicides.

we saw this in the past, where the Matrix inspired the Columbine massacre, and the publicity about that crime inspired a lot more teenagers to go and shoot up their schools.

(personal note: One school shooting was near a clinic where I had worked several years before it occurred. I knew the family, and the kid's problem was not just bullying, since he was taking home classes, but a messed up family due to substance abuse. At the time of the murders, he was living with his grandfather, a cop, but turned on him in rage and killed him first).

So how do you respond to bullying? Kill yourself or kill them?

of course, there is a third way: Stop the bullying.

teachers used to do that.

Or maybe change your kid's school. Been there done that.

but you know, when lots of TV sitcoms and tv talk shows like the View or political discussions  use ridicule of "the other" for humor, it makes me wonder.

maybe we need a "speak with kindness" week.

With Trumpie in charge, that would be impossible, but given that Democrats for years have bullied those who disagree with political correctness, and get cheered on in the press, you have to wonder how deeply this goes.

(I mean, I am now told I can't be a Democrat because I am pro life. Bernie disagrees, but hey, he is not a Democrat).

What does abortion have to do with teen suicide? Maybe because it is choosing death to solve a problem.

And teenagers are very suggestible.

Doctors have long known about the danger of "copycat suicides". For years, public health officials have cautioned the press not to glamourize or justify suicide, because it inspired those fighting depression to think this is an okay alternative for their problem.

In recent years, however, we have suicide chic: all the teenaged girls cried at the death porn film "me before you".

Killing oneself so not to be a burden on others is being pushed, in the same way that abortion so as not to be stuck raising a kid so you can be successful and richh was pushed.

yes I know: these ideas were pushed as "13 year old raped girl whose baby would be deformed" or "pain that was not relieved".

That last part is becoming more of a real problem thanks to the powers that be blaming doctors for the opioid epidemic that is actually due to Mexican drug cartels, but hey, building a fence to stop this is not PC, so encourage people in pain to kill themselves instead.

so what is another answer?

Maybe have a second season to show that she had other options, or that she misunderstood the comments, or showing her that she did have a place in the world, and showing the world changed because she acted on her anger.

Sort of like "Rashomon".

or maybe "it's a wonderful Life"..

at least, stop making this type of thinking sound noble and logical: it is immature and silly.

Mel Brooks call your office.

Yellow Jack update

Bad News: The CDC has an article about the shortage of Yellow fever vaccine.

it is a manufacturing problem, and partly due to increased demand.

theyre working on allowing a new version of the vaccine.

There have been recent outbreaks in both Angola/the Congo, and Brazil.

why worry? well, returning workers brought cases to China with them, which luckily did not get into the local population.

And th mosquitos that carry the disease are present in the USA.

The epidemic of 1793 in Philadelphia killed thousands.

of course, if there is another epidemic, it will be blamed on global warming, not the decrease in the practice of draining swamps and pesticide use.

Tolkien post of the week

Tolkien's LOTR and other writings have deep roots, not only in Germanic legends, his war experience, and his grounding in his family/the importance of ordinary life, but in Catholicism.

DiscerningHearts podcast has a series on the religious themes in the book.

I find it interesting that the picture they chose s Frodo looking over the wilderness of Emyn Muil at the start of the Two Towers.

Friday, April 28, 2017

The White Princess: Yes she was a beauty

Town And Country magazine article on the real "White Princess": The wife of Henry VII.

a lot of the stuff is from the local gossip going around back hen, and historians say it is not true.

But one piece of trivia is probably true: her face is probably the lady behind the Queen of hearts

Getty image

one clue that she loved her husband: She had a lot of pregnancies. Usually if there was no love, you see one or two boys then the queen would say: No, king, go to your mistress. But Elizabeth had seven kids, and died in childbirth.

they have an article on the Costumes here.

(heasups via TeaAtTrianon):

Worry about Zika, ignore the booze

for all the hysteria about Zika and fetal malformations, people ignore that fetal alcohol syndrome is a much bigger problem.

UKMail article on moms who were not alcoholics but had kids with the syndrome.
more HERE

  • movement and co-ordination problems, known as cerebral palsy
  • learning difficulties – such as problems with thinking, speech, social skills, timekeeping, maths or memory
  • mood, attention or behavioural problems – such as autism-like behaviour or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • problems with the liver, kidneys, heart or other organs
  • hearing and vision problems

so now the druggie legalization types are pushing the idea that marijuana is harmless, so smoke instead of taking a drink, and marijuana use among teenagers who are pregnant has skyrocketed.

uh oh: NIH summary says that causes problem too. the studies that showed few problems were from the 1970's when THC levels in marijuana were much lower than they are now.

THC, has increased from 3.4% in 1993 to 8.8% in 2008, and can reach as high as 30% in certain hashish preparations []. This fact is important since THC effects are dose related and classical studies carried out in the 1970s used doses that reflected cannabis intake at that period of time

and of course, the heroin epidemic is fueled by the same  societal ideas that gave us marijuana and alcohol.

Both the prophet and John Wesley saw this and insisted that their followers not use alcohol: But where are the churches doing this? Alcohol abuse in early America was lowered by the revivals of the early 1800's...

but now being judgemental about behavior is a no no.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Holy Asparagus!

Virtue on Line discusses the Anglican service for a local asparagusfest.

Cramer on line comments:

Really, words fail (though some must necessarily follow). A sacred procession down the Cathedral nave becomes an infantile pantomime as a block of asparagus is elevated and adored like the Blessed Host, and two men dressed up like Monty Python pay some sort of vacuous obsequious homage....

... England might be a major producer of asparagus, and the Vale of Evesham might be hosting the world famous Asparagus Festival, but where exactly does this stop? Would the Church of England permit a man dressed up as a baked bean to process behind a Heinz tin of the things, and sanctify the mummery with a facade of thanksgiving? And why only adoration of asparagus? Where’s the sprout liturgy, or equality for mushrooms? Would the Dean really permit a walking fungus to participate in an act of divine worship?

Junior asparagus could not be reached for comment:

Family news

The town fiesta is May 1st, so a lot of the relatives will be visiting back from the US and Manila and Germany and Canada and... well, I'm sure I left a few countries out.

our local virgin is the Divina Pastora, the holy shepherdess. This is a photo of the original statue, which is Mary, complete with her wide brimmed straw hat, surrounded by sheep.

photo credit: Raymond R. Valmonte

Wikipedia has more on how this Spanish madonna , and a 2014 article in the Inquirer discusses the pilgrims, while the local parish website has photos from past fiestas.

Fiestas don't just mean prayers and masses, but parades, and family reunions and lots and lots of food.

I went grocery shopping yesterday because the traffic etc. will be a mess. Our cook does the daily shopping for fresh meat and veggies, but I usually buy coffee, sugar, snacks and soap/detergent. The grocery store next door closed, so it means the regular stuff can be found in a nearby grocery, but the westernized food like Yogurt has to be bought at the grocery store in the mall. However, a new grocery store is being built next door

The problem is that the Palenke is a block away, so regular people go there for bargains...

it continues to be very hot, so I am avoiding going outside during the hot part of the day.

Ruby jogs (sometimes) at 5 am, and there is a dance/exercize class at the town square two blocks away at that time. Lolo used to jog there at 5 am every single day until he hit 88 years old, and I used to go with him and sort of lag behind. But now, forgetabout it. The bad news is that since I stopped walking I have gained 20 pounds. Oh well.

Ruby says her friends are all watching Sherlock: and are all gaga over it. I downloaded them a couple years ago (not illegally: No copyright law here then) so we had a Sherlock marathon. We are up to season 2.

Of course, he talks so fast, I suspect they are missing some of the humor.

(Presumably it has finally reached the local stations, TV shows tend to show here after 2 to 3 years, although The Walking Dead and other shows are advertised as "same day as in USA").

finally: We are being over run by cats again: nine kittens from three feral mothers who figured there is safety (and left over dog food to eat).

Alas, George the killer labrador, is getting too old to chase cats. Sigh.

Rewrite the history books

someone was carving up a mastadon in California 100 thousand years ago.

or maybe not. Discussion and links to original paper at link. (Western Digs link, original article was in Nature).

then there is this:

“If there were hominins in California 130,000 years ago, what happened to them for the next 100,000-plus years?” he asks. This is indeed a vexing question that Holen’s team does not address in its paper.

But in a separate Nature opinion piece, one the paper’s peer reviewers, Dr. Erella Hovers of Hebrew University, offers a modest proposal: The mastodon site, she says, may be evidence of another hominin species — like Homo erectus or Homo denisova — that reached North America before modern humans even migrated out of Africa.

hmmm. ..Brendan Frasier
call your office...

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Stories below the fold

Strategypage: China building ( buying) a port in Pakistan, plans to make a road by making tunnels through the Himalayas.

backstory is that Pakistan will have to keep the Chinese workers safe from terrorists.

then there is this:

Raheel Sharif, a retired Pakistani general is now in Saudi Arabia to lead the IMAFT (Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism).
lots of stuff going on. read the whole thing


GetReligion has links to what is going on in China.

Islam, Buddhism, Christians, and sects are being pushed around.


ASEAN summit opens today in Manila.

So there will be a non working holiday there to cut traffic problems.

Saudi amnesty to allow illegal workers to leave and then return to their jobs.

They have had a push to open jobs for locals that were done by outsiders.

background on the crackdown on illegal immigrants here.

most overstayed their visa.

Why did Marvel comics include the symbols of hard line Islamicist groups of Indonesia?

the group is known for it's hate crimes and is trying to destabilize Indonesia and change it to a Muslim state.


in local news, the MB (paper edition) noted that there has been an increase in theft etc. reported to the cops.

I wonder if this is an upsurge of crime or if it just means more people are reporting crimes. In the past, most people didn't report crimes, knowing that the cops will want a gift to find the guy and/or the guy will get back at you, or will never be found.

the elites who have their hand in the cookie jar are filling a complaint against Duterte.

why are they hyperventillating against Duterte, when other countries governments kill a lot more innocent civilians? Because he threatens the money of the elites who have ties with drug and gambling money.

when the very court system is corrupt, and the international elite wine and dine her, maybe someone should notice.

one lovely lady steals millions, gets George Clooney's wife to have the internationalists pressure to get her off.
A theft without a thief. Right.

StrategyPage notes

This war caused more Filipinos to see police misbehavior up close and in bloody detail. Thus after about six months of the war on drugs opinion surveys showed 85 percent of Filipinos approved of the violent crackdown but at the same time 78 percent were fearful they, or someone they knew, might become a victim of the increased violence. After the drug war was resumed in early March under new rules (and lots of corruption prosecutions) the fear began to subside and a poll at the end of March showed the number of fearful Filipinos has declined to 73 percent and the government wants to keep the trend moving in that direction. This unease was based on the growing instances of corrupt cops using their new “license to kill” for personal gain. 
and of course, the number of those who "know" someone who might be a traget is high due to extended family and friends here.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The first Feminist in literature

greeley's law confirmed

Andrew Greeley once quipped that as soon as Catholics drop an ancient practice (usually because the oh so modern liturgists decided it was too old fashioned) that it is picked up by someone else.

So fasting is picked up by Pentecostals, meatless Fridays is now green, and soon we will all be encouraged to buy modest clothing that is actually attractive.

one of the things "hit" by liturgist reformers (what is the difference between a liturgist and a terrorist? You can negotiate with terrorists) were those nice candles that one lit at home or in churches in front of a statue to tell the saint to pay attention to what we want honor the saint or to remember one's loved one. We still have that in the rural Philippines: I light two candles and leave flowers when I visit Lolo's grave, and he even put a candle on the grave of Mama dog after she died (and presumably went to Dog Heaven).

Now of course, one sees spontaneous "shrines" with candles and flowers and often a photo to remember someone who died, sometimes in honor of someone famous, but often just at the site of their death from an accident or crime... for example, even in secular NYC, these shrines popped up all over that secular city...and you can tell dangerous traffic areas in rural roads because of the number of shrines marking the site.

something that upsets the PC of course

but are getting more and more common.

So Brian Sibley reports the latest version:
Candles to your favorite author, to light while you are writing or reading his or her stuff. He writes:

As any regular reader of this blog will testify, there can be few more dedicated devotees of the late Ray Bradbury than I. We were friends for 30 years and I have several binders filled with his correspondence and a huge collection of his books, but even my reverence has its limits....

and yes, he reports that the candles are eco friendly:

Candles are made from hand-poured, unscented, non-GMO soy wax. The wicks have cotton cores. They are approximately 8.5” tall and 2.5” in diameter. Each can burn for up to eighty hours depending on the environment. Safety instructions are included.

more HERE. 

Hate Brexit? Blame King John

England once included parts of France (or more correctly, England was run by the Norman French).

But with time, the people decided to have a say in who should be king (which is why Empress Matilda never took the place over), and why, when Richard the Lion hearted died, that the queen mother and William Marshall figured a bad English king was better than a 12 year old French one who might or might not be a good good person, but hated the English.

British language podcast discusses why John Lackland vs Prince Arthur was a prelude to making England feel it was it's own country.

John eventually emerged victorious, but in the process, he set in motion the events that led to the loss of Normandy and most of northern France. The loss of these territories produced a renewed sense of “Englishness” and a revival of English literature. This English renaissance was spearheaded by an English translation of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s “History of the Kings of Britain.” For the first time, the legend of King Arthur was presented in English verse.
yes, I know: The "hundred year war" tended to complicate matters, but most of that was fought in France.

but if Arthur had ruled England, England probably would have evolved into a French outpost, Instead, it started to see itself as English (and the H*** with all those Frenchies). Hence, a lot of the emotion behind Brexit is about giving the finger to bureaucrats in Brussels who try to boss them around and tell them what tea kettle they are allowed to buy.

And most folks today only know about King John as the bad guy in Robin Hood.

Science Stories below the fold

Is the Universe infinite?


an aurora named Steve.

Astrophotographer Paul Zizka shared this photo of the aurora phenomenon "Steve" — then called a potential proton arc — with in October 2015. He took the photo in Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies on May 10, 2015.
Credit: Paul Zizka/

well it's a catchier phrase than "a potential proton arc"

Greg reports on the Minnesota march for science 

he is a scientist, but this march had all the stuff of professional protesters: signs, young people and aging hippies, and chants.

Chants? Really?

 Real scientists write articles, letters to the editor, or blog posts with scientific details and logic...and Greg's blog does this well, as opposed to bozos who only quote memes or use emotional or straw man arguments to try to persuade you, while trying to silence the opposition by yelling "SCIENCE".

but this march was so politically correct that they had their own Lactation station.

NASA has a photo showing the cause of global warming: Prosperity.

compare and contrast: Green NorthKorea vs tech savvy South Korea.

photo source


it has been very hot here (it is "tag-init", i.e. the hot season before the monsoon starts in June). One problem is that we have had deaths in our poorer neighborhoods: often the elderly or those with high blood pressure...So do I obey the Pope and turn off my air conditioner, and maybe end up in the emergency room with heat exhaustion and dehydration?

there are free clinics and a local city hospital, but they are very crowded, so often I get asked for money to go to the private hospital nearby.

for example, our maid had stomach flu. No problem, except that she is diabetic and needed IV fluids in the ER because she was vomiting and dehydrated. IV fluids cost 800 pesos, and her daily salary is 300 pesos, so I gave her the money for this.

So, to slow down (not stop) global warming, do we try to forbid modern appliances, or do we make folks rich enough to afford electricity and airconditioners?

Here is a WAPo article from last years about the huge increase in the use of Airconditioning in Chinese cities.

In just 15 years, urban areas of China went from just a few percentage points of air conditioning penetration to exceeding 100 percent — “i.e. more than one room air conditioner (AC) per urban household,” according to a recent report on the global AC boom by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
dang those Chinese. I am old enough to remember when they were communists and lauded living a primitive life, and were too busy starving to buy air conditioners.

It's the fault of allowing Capitalism, of course.
And air conditioner sales are now increasing in India, Indonesia and Brazil by between 10 and 15 percent per year, the research noted. India, a nation of 1.25 billion people, had just 5 percent air conditioning penetration in the year 2011.
Much of the article discusses how increasing efficiency is important, since one doubts a ban on air conditioning would work.

This article reminds you: It's not just people, but food that needs to be kept cool (less food waste thanks to refrigeration).

and it's not just using energy:
it has a long discussion of eliminating refrigerant gases.

And yes, we have a "swamp cooler" for our dining room/living room area, which is large and would take a huge airconditioner. But we mainly used it for Lolo, who read the paper and watched TV there. Since he died, we moved it into our meeting area, which is usually cool thanks to having bedrooms above and the only windows are open to the fountain in the center of our complex, which is cooler than if it faced the busy and dirty street (as does our bedroom, which faces east and turns hot at sunrise). The good news is that the bedroom is small so doesn't take a lot of electricity to cool when we need to use the air conditioner.

the shade in the central area, plus the fountain, means we can sit there comfortably, and makes it fairly cool in our nearby kitchen and dining areas.

So, like my rants about the green agenda are more about politics and pushing a utopian agenda... we actually try to live a green lifestyle, not just in our growing of organic rice but in our home.

as for pollution: Well, maybe if there weren't so many trafic jams in Manila that could improve (we already limit traffic by colorcoding). And Ruby reports that the MRT is expanding closer to our area, which would mean faster travel.

and, of course, Duterte's war on crime might make train travel more popular: drudge's headline today is about a gang in Oakland attacking and robbing passengers in Oakland California. Uh, that is onereason a lot of people prefer to drive.

Charles Bronson, call your office.

Language lesson of the day

Monday, April 24, 2017

Holly died for our eco sins

Happy Holly Maddox memorial day march.

The dirty murder by one of the men behind the idea of Earthday.

on the other hand, the dirty little secret is that the philosophy behind all of this "sustainability" stuff are in favor of cutting the population down to 2 million and pushing abortion and birth control (and some even admit it could include euthanasia of the unfit) to do it.

China's one child policy is seen as good: some even dare to say the Philippines should copy them to get rich.

well, why not? Except of course the public might oppose it, as they did in India when they voted out Mrs Gandhi...

but what is frightening is when behind the scenes puppeteers admit their agenda, albeit in smooth words and double speak.

But you don't read about this, because if you dare to question their "science" (or actually, their computer simulations) you are called names and often ostracized (or sued).

But there is a larger agenda, of course, but you can find what is being said in conspiracy sites, John Paul II's encyclical, and in popular culture... Kingsman.

I am not talking about just the "march for science" because this was a leftist march to impose a NWO on everyone.

yet who is questioning the scientists? I mean, we docs know didly squat about meteorology, and some of the articles about how "Climate change" will spread tropical diseases into northern cities just make one shake one's head... uh, you mean like the danger of cholera in London? Yellow fever in Philadelphia?

As for the medical and scientific societies who "backed" it: Well, the AAFP committee backed Obama care despite the fact that most of us didn't back it. So why belong? Because you need to belong to get CME and credentials.

On the other hand, we sit and watch as our "representatives" have become leftist and the ethics committee were filled with pro death people.

So despite the pressure for credentials, many have indeed quit. The AMA, for example, only "represents" 15% of practicing doctors (down from 75% in the 1950's). They blame it on the fact that docs prefer "smaller" groups, but actually I quit them because they not only pushed abortion but their ethics panel in the 1990's decided we should kill living babies with anencephaly to get organ donors.

I only belong to the AAFP because my dues in "grandfathered" in, but they claim they represent over 120 thousand docs: yet they don't ask us about their policies either. Indeed, they just send us stuff telling us what to do and who to support.

And many people belong to several groups: so if you read "groups representing x number", remember that the actual number is lower: Some people are double counted, and a lot  of folks weren't asked if they support this, but told to support this (and as busy docs, we tend to roll our eyes up and get back to our patients).

Related podcasts from Freakonomics: Why is bad environmentalism such an easy sell

they also have "experts" postulating how to form a society for Earth2.0.

I haven't listened to the whole thing, but I wonder about their "examples" of customs that persist even though they are out of date. Yet are they out of date? and even if the ones they cite are out of date, there are other customs that are being dissed by experts that are not out of date. or which have been dropped and now we see the social problem that resulted (e.g. we were told politeness was hypocrisy, so be frank. Now we have micro aggressions and sexual harassment suits).

the problem is not that folks try to make the earth better and help people.

The problem is that some philosophies posit a utopia. And the problem is that when you believe in utopia, those who stand in the way are not just having a different opinion but evil.

It's all in Hayek. What do they teach children these days in schools?

yes I know: we grow and sell organic rice. And I object to pollution.

But it is not my religion, and I hate those who try to manipulate science using emotional arguments.

The wild mountain thyme

AlasNotMeBlog links to posts from a blog about the LOTR... about the healing of Faramir, Eowyn, and Merry. (the book not the movie, which edited out mos of this).

the plant in the film, by the way, looks like the common chickweed, which is used for wounds, can be used to feed pigs (again, in the film), but doesn't have a nice smell.

Others have thought it was a basil or a mint plant, or maybe yarrow or a similar herb.

When I walked the fields in Appalachia, we would find various mints and herbs that grew wild, often because the farmers who had left 100 years earlier had grown them in their gardens.

Yet thyme also comes to mind, since this grows wild in southern climes and is useful for headaches, as is kingsfoil. Since Aragorn had to look hard for it when Frodo was injured, presumably also growing in a lost farm's garden, or in a certain type of habitat, one suspects this might fit the bill easier. In the films, it is a northern weed, but in the book, it is only considered a weed in Gondor.

yet wild thyme is a weed in the British Isles

longer discussion here.


O the summer time has come
And the trees are sweetly blooming
And wild mountain thyme
Grows around the purple heather.
Will you go, lassie, go?
And we'll all go together,
To pull wild mountain thyme,
All around the purple heather.
Will you go, lassie, go?
I will build my love a tower,
By yon clear crystal fountain,
And on it I will pile,
All the flowers of the mountain.
Will you go, lassie, go?
I will range through the wilds
And the deep land so dreary
And return with the spoils
To the bower o' my dearie.
Will ye go lassie go ?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Ginger coca cola

A new flavor of CocaCola is being introduced into Asia: Ginger flavored coke.

released for some reason first in Australia, but the real aim is the Chinese market, where it will be marketed as a "uang" (warm) beverage to balance "Yin" (cold) food (yin yang food balance)

I have been reading how SJW in US colleges are bullying those who borrow stuff from other cultures, but here, businesses (mainly US but also Chinese and local businesses) do this all the time.

I mean, not only can you get Pinoy style sphagetti at McD, you also get rice with your fried chicken... and simiilarly, you can get hamburgers, fried chicken etc. at the local copycat franchise, Jolibee.

when you read about evil preachers pushing hate, just remember, coca cola and other companies are pushing the opposite story (and by the way, buy our stuff)... not jus in Asia (or the US) but all over the world.

this song is English but the commercial is from Portugal:

and the Pakistani version: Love your wonderful counry

South African commercial:

and the Philippine commercial is about... family.

and friendship

and of course, fun....they also have this one about visiting Borachay:

the SJW have stuff about how evil it is, (in Africa, our nurses joked it was American poison, but drank it anyway... it was safer than drinking the water).

And you know, not only can you buy it all over the place, but since the stuff is bottled locally, so you can find bottling plants all over the place, meaning jobs for locals.

Runes and writing

the elder futhark 

Saga thing this week has a discussion of runes in ancient Scandanavia/Germany. MP3 link

While you may think of runes as the alphabet of the Vikings, it’s important to remember that runes come in many different forms and date back at least to the 2nd century CE. In fact, some point to the inscription on the controversial Meldorf fibula, a kind of brooch for pinning clothes, as evidence of runic writing in the early 1st century...
This alphabet was designed for cutting or carving simple strokes into wood, leather, bone, metal, and stone. Each letter is drawn by combining verticle strokes (staves) and diagonal protrusions (branches).
The Tolkien gateway has an article on the history of runes, and how Tolkien used them in his stories.

Guess where they got it?

One theory says that Runes evolved from Etruscan writing, however other quasi-runic scripts in other parts of the world (Rovásírás and Orkhon Script) also exist.

The alphabet was not indigenous but probably borrowed and changed to be easy to carve.

I recently read that an African was modifying the Latin alphabet to make it more friendly to Bantu speech. Actually, when I lived in Zimbabwe, the old books used a modified alphabet for certain sounds (e.g. Implosive B vs puffed B) but it was no longer used by the time I worked there in the 1970's.

The Roman alphabet comes from the Etruscans, who borrowed it from the Greeks, and of course, Eastern Europe uses a revised alphabet via Greek.

Similarly, the Philippines had it's own alphabet, the Baybayin, probably originally based on Sanskrit via Borneo. However, it does not have vowels, but like Arabic or Phoenician scripts, they are implied or uses small signs to designate them.

Most of the alphabets come from the Phoenicians, who removed the vowels from the letters, meaning you didn't have to memorize a couple dozen signs for each syllable, bu could add vowels (or not: Hebrew and Arabic just let you imply the vowels: It was the Greeks who added letters for the vowels).

the advantage of every civilization having their own alphabets is that they are easier for people to learn to read since the signs fit the language  problem, of course, is that you have to learn new letters for every language.   Here, we often see instructions or food labeling using Thai scripts or the Vietnamese modified Latin alphabet.

Even the Chinese only increased their literacy when they started using Pinyin, even though the Latin alphabet had to be modified for the inflections by adding tone marks...

There are programs to input Pinyin for your computer, or you can input the strokes of the symbols.

more HERE.

There is an article in the paper today about the difficulty of Icelandic for computers.

The problem is compounded because many new computer devices are designed to recognize English but they do not understand Icelandic.
"Not being able to speak Icelandic to voice-activated fridges, interactive robots and similar devices would be yet another lost field," Jonsson said.
Icelandic ranks among the weakest and least-supported language in terms of digital technology - along with Irish Gaelic, Latvian, Maltese and Lithuanian - according to a report by the Multilingual Europe Technology Alliance assessing 30 European languages.

since most people know English, and the kids are mixing English with Icelandic, the pure language is threatened.

given the universality of computers and english in entertainment, this is a world wide problem. Here it is called "taglish".

English, of course, tends to pick up word from all over, and doesn't usually get excited about it... so if your kids are learning "spanglish", thanks to all those immigrants, remember, so are the Latin American countries learning Spanglish too.

Finally, John B. has 2 podcasts on the idea of "German", and how Tacitus is to blame for the Nazis. LINK LINK2

 When Tacitus wrote a not-very-flattering little book about the ancient Germans in 98 CE, at the height of the Roman Empire, he could not have foreseen that the Nazis would extol it as "a bible," nor that Heinrich Himmler, the engineer of the Holocaust, would vow to resurrect Germany on its grounds. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Family news

Ruby had her cousin and family here for the last two days.

 They went to the mall and o the nearby city square, but spent much of their time inside her air conditioned bedroom talking or watching Korean tele-dramas on the computer.

 They went to Manila to catch a ride home. The mom is a flight attendant for a local airline. Joy gets back tonite, so they won't get to here until late tomorrow.

I am avoiding the headlines.

Why are doctors told to "Push" global warming and take time out of their busy practices to demonstrate? We have no expertise in climate science, and there isn't much we can do about it. Ditto for the Catholic church. Stop the air conditioning? Walk don't drive? Be less greedy? Eat green ? (uh, if this was done, the poor couldn't afford the food and the methane would rise from manure and using flooding to stop weeds when you grow rice, but never mind.. )

in the meanwhile, the real problems for our patients are being ignored: The breakup of the family with it's problems affecting our children and elders. (in the US this is from easy divorce laws and the sexual revolution: Here in the Philippines, it is because the parents work overseas because of a lack of local jobs).

Drugs are a symptom of these moral problems, and we docs see the side effects: abused and neglected kids (in the Philippines, street kids) who often take drugs to get rid of their psychological pain.

But if you read the papers in the US, they talk as if getting high is both harmless and fun. Are people taking drugs to be happy? Ah, but like the side effects of the broken families of the sexual revolution, the side effects are ignored.

The political wars in the US are getting crazy: on the other hand, that last part is starting to lose steam: As Dilbert notes:

In January of this year, President Trump’s critics were marching in the streets because they believed he was about to go full-Hitler. Or maybe he was just crazy, and about to do something dangerously stupid.
Today their biggest complaint is that President Trump hasn’t shared his tax returns with the public.

oh well, it says a lot that Trumpie boy's pushing war against North Korea is getting less opposition than the fact he won't push to let men in the girls' room.

In the meanwhile, the US press shouted about an attack on some tourist areas here in the Philippines. I didn't see a lot in our papers, and after reading Strategy Page, I realized why: It was a bust.

 What has shattered Abu Sayyaf morale was the spectacular collapse of a major effort to kidnap Western tourists on Bohol and Cebu islands in the central Philippines. This plan involved three Abu Sayyaf factions coordinating their efforts but the plan came apart on the 11 th when police were alerted (by concerned locals) about the presence of armed strangers. The subsequent gun battles killed the experienced Abu Sayyaf leader in charge of the operation and his key assistants. With that most of the remaining Abu Sayyaf members realized they were in bad shape and there was no way out.

and one other thing they note is that the government is making sure ransom is not being paid: Ransom for foreigners is one big source of their ability to make war.

the local paper notes that our farm area is shrinking because they are fixing the infrastructure for industrialization. True, alas. But this means our locals can stay home and work instead of going to Saudi etc. to get a job.

and a lot of those selling their land are those who got the land via land reform 50 years ago, but now are old and their kids don't want to farm, so are selling their land. We bought back a lot of the land our family lost to land reform, but there is a limit on how much a person can own, so we can't own any more. But this means we hire farmers (often from the poorer Visayas) to do the work, while subcontracting local small farmers to grow what we need while agreeing to sell us their crop, and in return we help by lending them tractors, handplows, high quality seedlings, mechanical threshers etc, all of which could not be afforded by a family with only a small farm.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Korean Dramas, we haz that

Ruby likes Korean dramas, and here is the latest chickflick miniseries I am downloading for her to watch on hr cellphone: link

they have english subtitles.

The dramas are also often here on our TV, with subtitles if on the Korean channel, or "tagalized" (subbed in tagalog) on local channels.

I personally prefer the historical dramas, with the gorgeous costumes.

Emus in Middle Earth

For those of you who are old enough to remember the first paperback edition of LOTR, you might remembeer the book cover had emus and eggplant trees, and later wondered why.

well, writer Brian Sibley has the backstory.

Tolkien was not amused and wrote to Rayner Unwin at his publishing house, Geroge Allen and Unwin:
I think the cover is ugly; but I recognize that a main object of a paperback cover is to attract purchasers, and I suppose that you are better judges of what is attractive in USA than I am. I therefore will not enter into a debate about taste—(meaning though I did not say so: horrible colours and foul lettering)—but I must ask this about the vignette: what has it got to do with the story? Where is this place? Why a lion and emus? And what is the thing in the foreground with pink bulbs? I do not understand how anybody who had read the tale (I hope you are one) could think such a picture would please the author. 
Barbara Remington, in an interview many years later, explained these curiously worrying embellishments:  

apparantly, no one in the artist's circle knew what the book was about, so she made it up.

but Tolkien freaks know that it had already become a best seller via sci fi publisher Ace books (without copyright), but of course, only geeks read Ace paperbacks.

family news

The modem has been placed so I can now get a decent signal in my room.

Ruby's friends have gone home, and she's busy chatting on her cellphone.Auntie Ruby is a shoulder for a lot of them to cry on. Lots of her friends are depressed and even express suicidal thoughts. I worry because his is now a big thing explored in teen dramas, and doctors know that teens are suggestible in such things.


These are middle class kids, whose parents both work and have little time for kids, and many probably don't have extended family since they live in Manila.

I feel like elling them: Go to the slums and help street kids, and then feel sorry for yourselves. But I doubt they are in a church that emphasizes such things.


we are still not sure where she will go to high school, since her father wants her to attend a B high school here and she wants to go to one in Manila. As Drudge says: Developing. Especially since we still have to probate Lolo's will and will probably get thrown out of here if he wins the honor to do this. Never mind local law forbids throwing a surviving spouse from her home that they can't own as a non citizen.


Our night watchman has now been forbidden, with the excuse that he gets drunk.. no replacement since I refuse to let the boyfriend sleep here, and don' t trust a stranger. so now it's George the killer golden lab protecting us.


in the meanwhile, we are sharing my large computer, which is a Chinese built Lenovo and a piece of s___. Several things wrong with it so far, and it's not worth it to upgrade the memory and replace the screen since he screws are falling out of the bottom and the keys are sticking all the time.

Joy won't be back until the weekend. My step son is happy.

The roof leaked during the rain, but not badly.

Happy happy happy.

Actually things are quite nice here: No recent earthquakes, the latest monsoon rains cooled us off, and no body is sick.

Monday, April 17, 2017

He is risen

Sense of Events blog discusses the Resurrection, and it's "use" to us. His post explains in detail why the resurrection is important, but he does note this problem with the American church:

 "Much of modern Christianity preaches a comforting Home Depot theology: You can do it. We can help." One thing's for sure: if we are to be raised from death ourselves, so .. not one of us can do it on our own. I think that we American Christians are much too narcissistic in our religious life but Easter really is maybe the one Sunday we can ask, faithfully, "What's in it for me?"

yes, and happy happy happy church for happy happy happy people.

Except, I wonder, who are these people? Not the ones I've worked with.

 a poll asking people why they went to church found this answer:

The overwhelmingly most important reason that people attend church is for the sermon and related talks to learn more about the scriptures and how religion connects to their own life. Three out of four cite those reasons.
II have worked for years with the poor and sick, and the resurrection is about hope: That Jesus suffered, and our suffering too has meaning. That caring for the sick is a way to serve the Lord. And that evil and pain does not have the last word.

but the real importance of the Resurrection can be found in this article about the Copts of Egypt:

On Friday, George Naseem Fahim stood guard at the church gates. His father, Naseem Fahim, was killed in the blast Sunday, he said, after he directed the suicide bomber away from the main gate and into the metal detector. Now his son took his place.
“I’m continuing what he started,” Mr. Fahim said. “Why worry or be afraid? He has gone to heaven, and I am ready to join him if necessary.”

or as Paul said: Death, where is thy victory? Death, where is thy sting?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

family news

Ruby and friends/cousins were here for Easter Dinner, then they went to a movie and she went back to her other grandparent's home.

Joy is still at her business seminar in Viet Nam and should be home later this week.

It is hot so when I got up at 5 am and it was already over 80 degrees, I figured to skip church, which of course would have been crowded.

About 4pm it rained so now it is cooler outside.

Nothing but nonsense in the news so I will hold my blogging.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday

Woe is me, my Child! 
I see Thee, dearest and beloved Child, 
hanging upon the cross, 
and my heart is bitterly wounded. 
But in Thy love, 
speak some word to Thy handmaiden. 

 Woe is me, my Child! 
I wish to take my son down from the wood 
and to hold Him in my arms 
as once I held Him when He was a little child; 
But alas, there is no-one to give Him to me. 

 Woe is me, my Child! 
I see Thee bruised and wounded, without glory, 
stripped upon the cross. 

O my Child, and my heart burns. 
 Woe is me, my Child! 
In my arms, I hold Thee as a corpse,
 O loving Lord, who has brought the dead back to life; Grievously is my heart wounded, 
and I long to die with Thee, 
for I cannot bear to look upon Thee 
lifeless and without breath. 

 Woe is me, my Child! 
I reflect, O Master: 
how never again shall I hear Thy voice. 
Never again shall Thy handmaiden see the beauty of Thy face 
as in the past, for Thou, my Son, 
hast sunk down before mine eyes. 

Full Lyrics

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Factoid of the week

Why do shoelaces untie?

The scientists expected that the knots would come undone slowly. But their slow-motion footage — focused on the shoelaces of a runner on a treadmill — showed that the knots rapidly failed within one or two strides. To figure out why, O’Reilly and his colleagues used an accelerometer on the tongue of a shoe to measure the forces acting on a knot. They found that when walking, the combined impact and acceleration on a shoelace totals a whopping 7 gs — about as much as an Apollo spacecraft on reentry to Earth’s atmosphere.

this sounds more frivilous than it actually is: Because if an elderly person trips on an untied shoelace, they can break an arm or a hip.

This is also a problem in surgery: Braided silk usually doesn't untie easily, nor does Chromic catgut. We usually do three or four knots (square knots not grannie knots) and no problem.

But newer unifilament nylon does tend to untie itself.

And if it unties before the wound is healed, you end up with the wound falling apart.

Although I found that nylon skin sutures, even with six or eight knots usually don't start to unravel until the wound swelling goes down and the tension on the knot allows it to unravel.

but if a person is malnourished (i.e. low protein diet, diabetes, cancer) the wound could take longer than usual to heal.

when we were in Africa, we used monofilament fish line to sew the skin because the pre packed nylon or silk was too expensive and often poor quality.

The real problem was the catgut and newer absorb able suture: If the catgut (regular or chromic) was old, it could lead to internal bleeding. Not a big problem for under the skin, but for C Sections it could lead to bleeding or other complications (a uterus that would rupture in a later pregnancy, a dangerous complication). We would usually use the modern versions donated to us by German or American hospitals.

and no, catgut is not made from cats: It is made from sheep guts, or as Wikipedia explains:

Catgut suture is made by twisting together strands of purified collagen taken from the serosal or submucosal layer of the small intestine of healthy ruminants (cattlesheepgoats) or from beef tendon.[1] The natural plain thread is precision ground in order to achieve a monofilament character and treated with a glycerol-containing solution
but it is not used as much nowadays, especially in Europe, because of mad cow disease worries and because there is an alternative.

Taxes taxes taxes

April 15th is income tax day in the USA, so presumably a lot of folks will be busy trying to figure out the tax forms this long holiday weekend.

We always had an accountant for this, but since I only have income from my pensions now, I can use the short form and file on line.

But answering the question you never asked:

are there taxes in Middle Earth?

yes... and the article gives a short history of taxes both in middle earth and in our earth.

Family news

Joy is at a agriconference in Viet Nam for another week.

Ruby left to go to her family in a nearby province: Cousins are visiting from the Visayas.

I am alone with the animals and help and my step son.

Joy took the main computer with her, so Ruby has been borrowing this one, so I am behind in the news.

IIt is Easter season so the Philippines shuts down so people can go home to visit families. The banks are shut down for four days, and the ATM's run out of money.

It is also hot season, and we are having a hot spell. I skipped mass Sunday and will probably skip Easter mass if it stays this hot, although I might make it to the early  morning mass, since the crowds will have attended the Easter midnight mass, which is the big celebration for Easter, and quite nice. Ruby's church will follow the Protestant custom of dawn service.

The custom here is to chant the Pasyon...a Tagalog poem about the passion and death of Jesus.

wikipedia explains:

The Pasyón is normally heard during Holy Week in the Philippines, where its recitation is known as the Pabása ("Reading"). The rite can span several days, extending no later than Black Saturday, but it is often ended on Good Friday at noon or before 15:00 PHT (GMT+8) – the traditional hour of Jesus' death on the cross.
Readers chant the Pasyón from beginning to end without pause; this non-stop recitation is facilitated by devotees chanting in shifts. The chanters usually perform the rite as a panatà ("vow"), or votive offering in request or thanksgiving. Devotees are frequently older women and some men, but in recent years younger Filipinos have shown an increased interest in the custom.

It is sung both at the local chapels and in home made ones...we have one "chapel" in the street a block away, but this year they aren't using loud speakers, so we can sleep.

I usually give a donation for food and snacks for the ladies who chant at our barangay chapel.