Monday, December 31, 2018

Musical interlude of the day

you filmed it where?

TORN has an article about the problems of filming Amazon's new LOTR series in New Zealand. Apparently, the Wellington area is busy with the new Avatar, so they had to use Auckland. And then there is the question where they will film.

Film and TV productions are always having to research and locate interesting places that fit what the production needs, so the fact that so many locations in New Zealand have already been established as feeling like Middle-earth is a boon. But then, there are hundreds of beautiful places around the world, and with chunks of filming now happening in studios, does it really matter where those studios are? Is it possible that Amazon can do location filming in New Zealand and Studio work in London, Hollywood or Vancouver? Or why not film in British Columbia, or Northern Ireland or Slovenia for that matter?

part of it is price, and part of it is the availability of staff and logistics, which is why Groundhog day was filmed in Indiana, not in Punxsutawney, which is fairly isolated.

That quip about Slovenia is a quip, but the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe was partly filmed in eastern Europe:

Wikipedia writes it was shot mainly in New Zealand, though locations were used in Poland, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom.

One of the items I find interesting is that the cinematography of some modern TV series is beautiful: up to the standard one once only saw on regular films.

Poldark is one example.

And so is Outlander: Did you know that this season's North Carolina locations are filmed mainly in Scotland? Radiotimes article discusses.

well at least they did use "first nation" actors: They flew them in from Canada.

CNTraveler has an article on the various sites in past seasons. Uh, South Africa?

or as CNT writes:
The show—which has already taken its characters to France (via Prague and Scotland) and the Caribbean (psych, it's shot in Cape Town)—is now heading to the Carolinas' this season. Fun fact, they're actually on set in Scotland—though the sweeping shots of the Blue Ridge Mountains are green screen (if you couldn't tell already).

lots of nice photos at each link.

but they do spill the beans about the standing stones: they are Styrofoam fakes.

Oh well.

actually, standing stones are all over the place (something noted in the later books, where they travel back in time from the islands off the coast of NCarolina.) and the later books have a theory that they only work for you if you have the right gene and carry a gemstone. So Jamie can't time travel, but Brianna can (and so can Roger, whose ancestor is Gellis the witch).

the film series Standing with Stones has this on the stones of Scotland:

Family news

Kuya held the party for employees yesterday: Lots of food, kareoke, and later some beer for the men, who at parties tend to sit outside and talk.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Headlines below the fold

StrategyPage discusses Iran's corrupt theocracy. And down lower in the article discusses Syria... a lot of the "Iranian" troops there are Afghan Shia mercenaries. Long complicated article bookmarked for later reading.

Dilbert podcast comments on a journalist supposedly killed during interrogation by the Saudis was actually an Iranian agent.

Mollie Hemingway’s Federalist article on Qatar and Khashoggi
  • Khashoggi was an influence peddler working for Iran
  • WAPO was therefore…colluding with Iran, a foreign enemy
in another podcast he asks why the Turks consider the Kurds as terrorists.

it's because the Versailles treaty cut up the Ottoman empire and resulted in the Kurds being divided. The huge Kurdish minority in eastern Turkey were pressured into becoming Turks, and resisted, including violent terrorist attacks.

 The Kurds in northern Iraq were gassed etc by Saddam Hussein, and after the first Gulf war, the Americans put up air protection for them so they have essentially been running their own state within a state there, which is giving the Kurds in Syria the same idea. The Turks don't want that, especially since the Turkish birth rate is low, and the Kurdish birth rate is higher and in the long term they might take over the place.

Ottoman History podcast discusses the history of that ethnic group that wants their own country.


a summary of the American war of the elites vs the deplorables link
and uses a history of Athens to show the problem of the losing side criminalizing differences of opinion in policy matter.

and explains how this predates Trumpieboy

The 2008 financial crisis sparked the realization that public opinion meant nothing, because the elites of both parties (and the press propaganda to support them) united to bail out the crooked banks.

They showed “government by the people, for the people” to be a fable. This forced the recognition that there exists a remarkably uniform, bipartisan, Progressive ruling class; that it includes, most of the bureaucracies of federal and state governments, the judiciary, the educational establishment, the media, as well as major corporate officials; that it had separated itself socially, morally, and politically from the rest of society, whose commanding heights it monopolized; above all that it has contempt for the rest of America, and that ordinary Americans have no means of persuading this class of anything, because they don’t count.

a similar warning can be found in Mike Duncan's book on how political violence destroyed the Roman Republic.



Saturday, December 29, 2018

Pepper pot soup

UK Guardian:

How Philadelphia Pepper pot soup saved the Revolution

supposedly, it was served to the beleagured troops in Decembrt 1777   cheering them up.

pepper pot soup's origin in the Caribbean, but the Philly version has tripe.
 Pepper pot is a Caribbean dish, and it may well be that slaves and freedmen brought a taste for spicy broth to Philadelphia. But Caribbean cuisine makes little use of tripe. The French and (ironically) the English are more partial to the cratered stomach lining of the cow, with its elastic texture and distinctive – not to say unpleasant – taste and smell, this last resembling ripe manure. (Readers who have yet to try the delicacy may now be suspecting it was yet another hardship to befall the Continental army.)
Nonetheless, pepper pot became as emblematic a Philly dish as cheesesteak, scrapple, hoagies and water ice. By 1811 the popular artist John Lewis Krimmel was exhibiting Pepper Pot: A Scene in the Philadelphia Market, in which a barefoot African American woman ladles out evidently popular stew

and the recipe (tripe and all)  is at the UKG link.

headsup EvilBloggerLady.

actually, we eat tripe here in the Philippines, but usually in karekare:

Churchill controversy

Awhile back, some famous Brit had to apologize for his praise of Churchill because of political pressure from the PC mob.

The people who complained that Churchill was guilty of genocide were referring to his policies that led to a major famine in India during World War II.

However, this was not a deliberate genocide like the Ukrainian famine of Stalin as much as a careless one that was a side effect of a policy that had a different purpose.  

The reason behind the famine was similar to the careless genocide of Ireland during the potato famine, made worse by exporting Irish grain to feed the poor of England, or the genocide of Mao's great leap forward, which was caused by policies that didn't work and the pressure on local officials to pretend they were working, both of which killed millions).

The streets of eastern Indian cities were lined with corpses, yet instead of sending emergency food shipments Churchill used the wheat and ships at his disposal to build stockpiles for feeding postwar Britain and Europe. 

Discussed in these podcasts:


one is reminded of Camus' observation:

Albert Camus

“The evil that is in the world always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding. On the whole, men are more good than bad; that, however, isn’t the real point. But they are more or less ignorant, and it is this that we call vice or virtue; the most incorrigible vice being that of an ignorance that fancies it knows everything and therefore claims for itself the right to kill. The soul of the murderer is blind; and there can be no true goodness nor true love without the utmost clear-sightedness.”

― Albert Camus

Friday, December 28, 2018

Cheezemaking story of the week

AlJ has a story about making Parmesan cheese.

Actually, about how immigrants from India are saving the Italian Parmesan industry.....

A decade ago, when Jaswantsing imagined his future, he saw himself working as a computer engineer in his native Punjab province in India. But at home, there are more computer engineers than there are jobs. Others from his village had already made their way to Italy - they said the pristine farms along the Po Valley looked just like home. The difference was that in Italy there was work and the possibility to provide some financial security for his wife and two daughters, now aged eight and 11. So, eight years ago, Jaswantsing followed the "Sikh Road" to Italy to work in the milk factories. He arrived at the Catellani Gianni Farm in the village of Masone.

more here:

Talking about things that matter: Both sides have the same issues

I almost didn't watch this, because it is from a right wing news organization, but what he says is obvious (but both sides hate each other so much no one wants to talk about it).


Another day, another storm

not a typhoon, merely a cyclone.

It will hit the Visayas early tomorrow, and we are far north, but it is overcast here.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Academia studies the really really imortant cultural trends

From Improbable Research:

a list of academic studies of my little Pony.

here is one example:

● It’s Ok to be joyful? My Little Pony and Brony masculinity, pp. 111-118(8). Author: Mikko Hautakangas (University of Tampere)
“Bronies, the adult male fans of the animated television series My Little Pony:Friendship is Magic (2010–), have raised controversy in public discussions and on the Internet: male interest in something so obviously non-masculine seems to call for some kind of explanation, for instance, as a sexual subculture or as one more ironic 

and this article is about classical influences on the ponysphere

 The classical world is 20 per cent cooler: Greco-Roman pegasi in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, pp. 135-143(9). Author: Jen Cresswell  (University of St Andrews)

of course, such studies are not limited to the ponysphere: The article also links to other esoteric fandoms:

Also see:Recent progress in Wonder Woman studiesRecent progress in Kung Fu Panda studiesRecent progress in Quidditch studies (part 3)

font problems

I keep getting emails from Google that my blog can't be read on cellphones due to the small font.

But I use "normal" size font.

So I will try to change to "large" font.

But that is too large.

oh well... whatever.

Albino pride

Kenya is holding an Albino pride beauty contest.

Organized by the Albinism Society of Kenya with partners in Uganda and Tanzania, the contest aims to demystify the condition of people living with albinism and affirm their inherent dignity while challenging myths, misconceptions and negative beliefs around the disorder.

 alas, the use of witchcraft to get rich or to cure HIV has caused an upsurge of the evil practices.

my comments on my Makaipa blog.


One note: Witchdoctors detect and cure witchcraft. Witches, not witchdoctors, use animal sacrifice to cast spells, usually in revenge, or to get rich, or to cure a severe illness... since the HIV epidemic because widespread, there has been an increase in people seeking "traditional" cures, including going to these quacks to get cures.

before you point fingers, just remember how nice white Americans think it's okay to abort an unborn child for using fetal body parts  or for stem cells to cure people.

Your mama wears combat boots via Freerepublic

so after an NBC story was trumpeted all over the airways to criticize the US president for not visiting the troops on Christmas, he shows up in Iraq, and Melania, whose use of high heels was a big issue for the press when they visited the hurricane zones, is wearing combat boots.

actually they are Timberline boots, mocks the press, who don't know how to google...if they did, they might find that the US military allows non military boots to be worn, including a very similar one from Timberline.

expect more negative stories about her costume, because the press is biased and not ashamed to make a fool of themselves to mock those they dislike.

nothing new about this: The Queen Mum was criticized for visiting the bombed out areas and survivors during the Blitz, because she was wearing very feminine clothing and her signature hat.

Her answer: I always wear my best when I visit people.

and the petty criticism is not political: I have defended Mrs. Obama from similar snarky articles.

this is why people dislike the press, and don't trust it.

Similarly,This similar to how the very dangerous Bush visit quickly morphed into ridicule of a "plastic turkey" which he held as he joked with the troops that he was going to serve it to them. (joke usually ignored in the ridicule).

the point not being stressed: Such trips are dangerous. Mrs. Clinton was shot at when she visited the  Balkans, and Anbar is in the middle of the ISIS/Sunni area of Iraq.

But nothing new about distorting the story from heroism to trivia.

when Bush visited Iraq, the Freepers got wind of it, and Jimrob removed their post until it was officially announced for security reasons.

This time, Avgeek spotters in Europe saw AF1 and posted it on line, but apparently the press didn't suspect a thing, or else they were too busy posting their meme to actually wonder what was going on (I would like to say that they were keeping mum for security reasons, but pushing a negative story to cover security is a bit over the top.)

in other news, a lot of tears shed over two kids who "died in custody" after crossing the border. Since both died within hours of what seemed to be sepsis, one does suspect they were sick when they were illegally brought across the border by their fathers even though they were sick.

But the CDC has been asked to check and Mexican public health authorities have been asked to check too.

The irony? Obama's change in regulations mean if you bring a kid with you, you were given a "get out of detention free" card, so in the first case, the father left wife and kids home and just brought one of the kids along, which doesn't make sense except to point out he figured the kid would help him stay in the USA, never mind the danger to the kid.


My take? Why are they making a big thing about Honduras, when there are three million Venezuelan refugees who have fled to nearby countries in the last few months? NatGeo article on one such group.

Although the region has experienced multiple population movements, this exodus is thought by some to be Latin America’s worst-ever migration crisis. Over the last four years, amid a long and dire economic downfall, Venezuela has seen the impoverishment of its citizens and a resulting mass exodus. The latest re-election of President Nicol├ís Maduro to a second term hasn’t helped the already tenuous situation, igniting a simmering desire of many Venezuelans to leave the struggling nation. Hyperinflation of the economy, hospitals without supplies, and the rampant spread of hunger have fueled their flight.

So many refugees.

I remember the Mariel Boat lift, when some of our Commissioned corps staff were sent to care for the refugees, and when they came back they said they saw diseases and neglected medical problems that they hadn't seen for years in the USA.

So how does one respond? Both prevention and first aid type help.

the USAID is sending help to Colombia to help these refugees LINK2 but short of a change in government/government policies, one does doubt much will help. 

and the US is sending money to Central America to help those countries fight the gangs who are partly the reason for many fleeing the area.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Circus movie

For some reason I never heard about this movie, but I just saw it on HBO Asia...

heh. A musical like they used to make, which got lousy reviews but made a lot of money via word of mouth. Wikipedia article notes it didn't make a lot of money when it opened, but it continued to make money week after week, suggesting that people came to see it by word of mouth recommendation rather than hype.

As for Barnum, Librivox has his autobiography LINK.

I don't know if any of this is true (including the autobiography) but it is entertaining.

Wikipedia article on Barnum.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas classic movie of the week

I understand Hallmark channel (which we don't have here) is full of Christmas romances.

But for those who don't have access to them, a favorite chickflick at Christmas, The Bishop's Wife is on internet archive to download or watch.

it was remade with Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston as the Preacher's Wife, but it was a failure:

Myself, I felt Houston was too bitter to be likable, and while the original had the bishop working hard to build a cathedral (worthy, but essentially vain), the remake had the wife bitter at a husband out trying to save lives and souls.

Sort of reminds me of a lot of bitter doctor's wives, who resented their husband going out to save lives instead of taking them out to cocktail parties.

the soundtrack however is great

Dog story of the week

BBC has an essay plus photos on how puppies get selected and trained into guide dogs for the blind.

Image captionAnna Marinker, a dog care supervisor at the Guide Dogs National Breeding Centre, with two of the pups

related item: Since the airlines are clamping down on fake "assist animals",  you will be pleased to know that Popeyes will sell you an "emotional support chicken" to keep you calm.


and one of the features that fans watch for in the books of Dean Koontz is the appearance of the savior dog: and he supports an organization to train these dogs.

here he discusses his adoption of Trixie, one of these dogs that was up for adoption due to an injury.


Movie of the week

before you watch the remake, watch the real thing:

... and part two starts with the teapoarty on the ceiling, the only part of the book I actually enjoyed as a kid.


Silent Night

and then there is this lovely song, the favorite of my mother:

Syria? Who knows?

I tend to be pro war, so am upset that Trumpie boy is pulling out the troops against the advice of General Mattis.

but I am bemused to see all the traditional peaceniks change sides on this. you mean their peacenik stand was about hating the US and espeically hating Trumpiboy, and not really about peace?

I mean: He is doing the same thing that President Obama tried to do, but hey, if Trumpiboy does it it's automatically wrong?

There are arguments on both sides, but I found this one interesting:

Ann Althouse posts an interview with Rand Paul, who notes:

We took ninety-nine percent of the land [from ISIS], they're on the run, can the people who live there not do anything? We spent trillions of dollars arming the entire Middle East, arming Afghan army, can they not do anything? Do we have to do everything? We defeated ISIS. But now you have the-- the hawks in the administration and throughout Congress saying, "Oh, now we have to wait until Russia and Iran leave Syria." Well, that was never our goal and it's never going to happen. So those people are advocating for perpetual war.... ....... 
heh. Sounds like Europe, who still want the US to defend them 70 years after Hitler was defeated and 29 years after the Berlin wall fell, and they get upset when Trumpie boy says: grow up and do it yourself.

the war over who controls the Middle East has been going on for at least 3500 years, so I don't think removing 2000 American troops from Syria (where they never have been authorized by Congress) will make the world end.

True, it might let Iran and Russia take over, but you know, I don't hink Putin is going to let Iran kill 900 thousand Russian Jews who live there, and he will protect the Christian minorities (who are mainly Orthodox Christians) who were being killed by ISIS.

As for the Kurds: Well, Trump is not removing American help from Iraqi Kurdistan, and they can take care of themselves unless Turkey gets too feisty, but you know, Turkey has two million refugees there and would be happy to send them all home...and to do that, they need to get rid of the remnants of ISIS, from StrategyPage a long discussion and more here:

Short of getting rid of corruption and having people actually follow their religious instructions on how to live in peace, I don't see an answer.

Anyone who reads the Old Testament knows the vicious war history of the region, but actually the wars there predate the bible: yes, I know: Meggido is not in Syria but the battle was about if the Syrians or the Egyptians would control the trade routes to Mesopotamia and the tin mines (to make bronze) of central Asia.


 as for Afghanistan: That's another story and a lot of the mischief there is because the Pakistani military are keeping the Taliban alive, and the heroin drug trade is helping fund it.

Iran has a huge heroin problem, and China wants the place pacified to make their new silk road on land and sea, (not to mention to pacify a pipeline from the central Asian countries that used to belong to Russia) so again there is an argument to let them have the

America has been the policeman of the world and given it the Pax American for the last 70 years, and gotten nothing but scorn, so maybe it's time to leave.

update: corruption is the big problem.

I laugh when "green" types propose giving money to "poor" countries to counteract climate change: Because it ignores that the money will go right into the pockets of the corrupt.

A lot of the money sent to help the US fight the Islamic terrorists here simply got stolen. Even aid money supposed to rebuild after the huge typhoon in the Visayas got diverted too, as does money supposed to help farmers and projects to improve the infrastructure.

And one dirty little secret is that millions of "miliary aid" sent to rebuild Iraq got diverted, aka stolen by the plutocrats there.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Responsibility as counter culture

Chinese Jewish refugees

part 2

part 3

part 4

or go to his podcast page

Simbang Gabi

Early morning mass for 9 days before Christmas. Why very early morning? So people can go to mass before they start work at dawn.

 Wikipedia article

Lolo went for years when we first came here. Afterward, the folks would go up to the city square and talk and eat snacks.

no, I never went: I'm not a morning person and tend to be stiff in the morning, so even going jogging with Lolo back then was not pleasant for me.

the custom ends with the midnight mass at Christmas (in the late evening) with everyone going home to eat Buena Noche together.

everyone tries to come home for the holidays: Especially Christmas (and for the local fiestas, such as ours in May). Ten percent of the population live or work overseas or on ships, due to lack of local jobs, but this is the time when you reunite with your family.

Here, Christmas is about families: and God is part of the family: God the Father, Mama Mary and Kuya (older brother) Jesus. And family means fiesta and food.

Why not: Jesus' first miracle was to supply wine for a wedding feast.

Sun Dogs

Astronomy photo of the day:...
Image Credit & CopyrightMagnus Edback

Solar ice halos! More common than rainbows, simple ice halos can be easy to spot, especially if you can shade your eyes from direct sunlight. Still it's extremely rare to see anything close to the complex of halos present in this astounding scene. Captured at lunchtime on a cold December 14 near Utendal, Sweden the image includes the relatively ordinary 22 degree halo, sundogs (parhelia) and sun pillars. 

Friday, December 21, 2018

Medical blog links: death and dying and ebola

Cross posted from my medical blog:

Death and dying of an infant, with a short discussion of caregiving. Linked to a podcast about Tiny Princess, who just passed to her heavenly award...

another junk opioid study. 

Ebola update (12-11-18). this is old news: it's still going on, and there might be good news about how the experimental vaccine is helping slow the spread, but I will have to check deeper into this.

related short link about an AlJ story on how the economic problems are making treatment of HIV difficult in Zimbabwe (from my africa blog).

Speed in wartime. As in meth or similar drugs. The use was common as far back as World War II...
Not just the jihadis, but sometimes used by American pilots etc. to stay awake so they don't crash.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

the downside of electric cars: Blood Colbalt

The genocide that nobody sees: The ongoing civil war in Central Africa/DRC, that has caused millions of deaths (2 million? 5 Million? who is counting?).

But why are they fighting? Partly tribalism of course, but it continues mainly as a civil war against a president who refused to Austin Bay points out: follow the money.

Attention Chinese car buyers and North Americans who exalt electric vehicles and condemn petrol-powered transport: Congo's election matters because Congo's extraordinary cobalt deposits and annual cobalt production have strategic international value and therefore long-term strategic implications that will eventually affect your lifestyles or threaten your lives.
Why? Manufacturing the electric engine powering China's small "urban" electric car takes 22 pounds of cobalt. That's why China imports at least 80 percent of Congo's annual output.

Movie of the week

the classic Christmas movie that inspired the TV series the Waltons.

History lesson of the day


posted for two reasons:

one, it is a place that might be in the news in the near future due to the threats from Russia.

Two: add Finland to the list of countries where the Philippines sends nurses: met one of them at a party for a cousin, so she is probably part of the extended family. The party was held by a cousin married to a Canuk Canadian whose daughter is planning to marry a boyfriend from Mexico who she met in Europe.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Climate discussions part three


Climate discussion part two

I don't always agree with Peterson, and often have to watch his talks twice or stop them and think about what he says to understand what he is talking about.

But at least he doesn't pretend his listeners are stupid.

Climate discussion

the discussion of rice cultivation and methane is at minute 32.

TEOTWAWKI post of the week

the US Gov't just sent out a memo on how to stay alive in event of an emergency.'s not just preppers anymore.

Of course, when I lived in Oklahoma, my emergency stash was in the garage, but actually if we were hit by a tornado, the garage would probably be blown to Kansas.

Most of the emergencies are short term, thank the Lord. And help usually arrives within a few days or weeks, so most of us just stay in place and help each other: Yes I read stories of "looting" but some of the looting is people trying to find supplies, and the stories of neighbors helping neigbors is the more common experience (such as helping Lolo into the neighbor's tornado shelter, or my son and his girlfriend evacuating her father with COPD during a hurricane, or neighbors/extended family housing people whose houses were under water when it flooded, or when we helped neighbors with water and cellphone recharging after a typhoon took out our water ane electricity here).

Usually just hunkering down is the answer: Evacuation however might be needed in both forest fires and in hurricanes/floods.

But what if a major world wide crisis happens?

Think the global warming predictions, or the year without a summer, or the Bronze age collapse.

Volcanic eruptions are the wild card:

Science has a scary article on the year 536:

Ask medieval historian Michael McCormick what year was the worst to be alive, and he's got an answer: "536." Not 1349, when the Black Death wiped out half of Europe. Not 1918, when the flu killed 50 million to 100 million people, mostly young adults. But 536. In Europe, "It was the beginning of one of the worst periods to be alive, if not the worst year," says McCormick, a historian and archaeologist who chairs the Harvard University Initiative for the Science of the Human Past.

volcanic cooling and the plague of Justinian probably contributed to the final fall of Rome (without it, maybe Rome would have reconfigured itself and civilization would have come back a lot faster).

the hysteria about global warming is the meme: alas most of their scare tactics aren't working, since a lot of folks see it for what it is: a means to scare you into approving of a NWO dictatorship that will order you how to live.

When they promote ecological friendly policies, most people will listen, but you know, watching the car fire that wouldn't go out when Hammond crashed on the World Tour pretty well turned me off from electric cars... not to mention that they are useful for short trips (we have electric jeepneys in Manila for example) but not much help in a rural rice business, which requires trucks and long hauls for delivery in areas where you might not be able to "fill 'er up" for 90 minutes every 250 miles.

Of course, to some elite bozos, major climate disasters that kill lots of people is a good thing: and it's not just Thanos who thinks that.

Instapundit links to a professor who says we all should die to save the planet.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Clemson Philosopher In NYT: Maybe We Should All Kill Ourselves, Or At Least Abort All Future Children To Save The Planet.

This about says it all: a comedian tweeted a joke years ago loses a job at the Oscars because...homophobia, but hey, promote mass genocide, and no problem because it's for mother Gaia.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Crime and punishment

The Pope nixes capital punishment, again.

this is called Virtue signalling, proving he is oh so much more compassionate than other ignorant clods, such as that feisty Jewish carpenter who said pedophiles should be thrown into the sea tied to a millstone.

I actually oppose capital punishment, because it tends to be the poor who end up with that punishment, and of course, sometimes mistakes are made. And there are alternatives:

Jail them for life, throw away the key, no problem.

No problem in affluent modern countries, where you can jail sociopathic murderers for life, but in places where jails are not affordable or where sociopaths can escape if they pay a little bribe, I should note that the result will be vigilante justice, as has happened recently in Mexico  (UKGuardian Article), or the pay back murders (paid hits against criminals by families who got tired of waiting for justice) here in the Philippines which the SJW blame on Duterte, not knowing the reason for the hits.

speaking of capital punishment: would that help stop the Fentanyl crisis?

Not for the low level dealers, but for the leaders of the Drug cartels and the Chinese gangsters who are supplying the drug.

the 'experts" say this won't work... but the reason it won't work is because China (and Mexico) are corrupt. A little gift and voila: a "get out of jail free card".

on the other hand, if you actually go after the high level gangsters/"businessmen" who are behind this, and not just execute a few low level people for show, then yes it could work.

Backstory: Xi is trying to get rid of corruption, which is holding back China's economy.  Long StrategyPage article on that here.

What would we do without "experts"? We heard the same thing here in the Philipines, that the "war on drugs" wouldn't work: yet the streets are now safer.

Crime went down but murder rate went up, says the headlines. implying that petty crime went down but lots of the more serious crime of killing people was getting worse.

The actual data suggests a different story:

The nationwide crime rate from July 2016 to June 2018 dropped by 21.48 percent...
  Crimes against persons like homicide, physical injuries, and rape also went down, except for murder which saw an increase of ... 1.50 percent during the last two years.
Finally, there is a lot of crazy stuff out there about opioid.
Blaming doctors, and not distinguishing doctors treating pain with high doses versus drug abusers.

The latest is if you give a few opioid type pills to women after having babies to relieve their pain, you are causing a drug epidemic.

But actually the "study" shows 1 percent end up misusing narcotics,  in contrast to 5 percent of the overall population who misuse narcotic type medicines.
And although they eliminated anyone who said they had taken opioids in the past 180 days, it wasn't clear if they did a drug screen to check if they were lying, or if they were taking other streetdrugs.

what's wrong with this picture?

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Short stories to make you cry at Christmas

Philippine commercials for Christmas time


the first is about a widow of a soldier, and the second man is alone because although he has many photos of children, none are there.

note how many are about families separated because the parents or children are working elsewhere? Poverty forces someone in every middle class family to find work, often abroad (although now they do have call centers etc).

but the emphasis is family in all of them.

Movie of the week

Musical interlude of the day

..............and one for Christmas:

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Movie of the week

.quick before the copyright cops find it:..or the SJW ban it for being racist...


part two 

part three

Harry Potter Harry Potter

Mythgard movie club discusses the latest Harry potter film:

Remembering the Philippines in World War II


the failure of the US to give the Filipino veterans a pension was a sore spot in the relations between the countries.

one reason that the benefits promised was not given to them was  the culture of corruption here: because a lot of people claimed they fought, and they did not, orthey  only fought at the end of the war and were ineligible.

So Lolo's brother and cousin fought for years; his cousin was killed during the war, and his brother died long before the US finally granted benefits. My husband, a young teenager, only joined with his brother's group at the end of the war for several months and was ineligible for US benefits, but he did get veterans benefits from the Philippines to help his education, and later a small pension for his service.

Wikipedia article on the occupation.

....... ..


Stop eating meat (and rice) to save the planet?

AlJ article on how to personally save the planet

Walk don't drive, of course, And stop eating so much meat and dairy are in there.

the usual meme is to become vegetarian to stop greenhouse gases from cow flatulance, but the dirty little secret is that rice growing produces just as much methane as cattle.

Saunois said that while the reasons behind the methane surge are not well understood, the most likely sources are cattle ranching and rice farming. Cows expel large quantities of methane and the flooded soils of rice paddies are homes for microbes that produce the gas.

the paddies are flooded with slowly running water to drown weeds (which is why you see all those photos of peasants plating rice seedlings).

this film is a bit long, but shows how one farmer does it:


here is a film from IRR that instructs the alternate method: intermittant flooding, which not only saves the use of water but lowers the greenhouse gas produced.

so that manages to cut methane emissions. Hooray!

uh oh: UKIndependent notes this cuts methane, but increases another Greenhouse gas: Nitrous oxide.

“The full climate impact of rice farming has been significantly underestimated because up to this point, nitrous dioxide emissions from intermittently flooded farms have not been included,” said Dr Kritee Kritee from the Environmental Defense Fund, who led the research. Analysis by the team showed that process of alternately wetting and drying rice fields – while reducing methane levels – is producing up to 45 times more nitrous oxide than constantly flooded fields.

Sigh. Back to the drawing board.

note: Our family grows and cells organic brown rice.

which is why I haven't even gotten into the argument about the pros and cons of  using traditional flooding vs pesiticide/herbicide and the use of GM plants in growing rice.

Remembering Halsey's Typhoon

in mid December 1944, the US Navy was hit by a typhoon east of Luzon that sunk three ships and damaged many others.

this incident occurred two months after the largest Naval battle on record, the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

Wikipedia article on Typhoon Cobra

here in the Philippines, typhoons usually hit in July through September (often destroying the harvest), so a December typhoon is less common this far south.

StrategyPage discussion of how storms impact the military,
especially aviation and naval deployments,
These typhoons also severely disrupt all military aviation operations. Aircraft must be sent away, often far away, and bases battened down to minimize storm damage. Airbases can be out of action for weeks per typhoon. Warships are also at risk, although these days, weather satellites have eliminated the surprise factor. Not so in the past. On December 17, 1944, Task Force 38 was blindsided by a typhoon off the Philippines. Over 800 sailors were killed, three destroyers were sunk, and twenty other ships severely damaged, while many aircraft were damaged or destroyed. This was not the only time a Task Force ran afoul of a storm, simply the worst.


and a recent book on the incident:


a book written by an ordinary sailor who lived through those battles is the book The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors.

another sailor's story is in this film:

one of my cousins was on a destroyer later hit by a kamikazi, and survived: but I don't know if he was in this battle.

But the brother of my aunt's cousin was on the Enterprise and killed in a later kamikazi attack on the ship.

it says a lot that for ordinary younger Americans, the Enterprise means StarTrek's ship, not the Gray Ghost of Midway and Leyte.

(the Gray Ghost refers to the fact that the Japanese reported her sunk at Midway, and she reappeared.)

a summary of the various ships with the name Enterprise.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Zoology lesson of the day: They

CoolGreenScience has the X rated story of sea cucumbers.
more at the link: go there to read the whole essay: This is a PG blog.

But toward the end of the biology lesson, the author worries they are becoming extinct because they are eaten in Asia.

Well, yes: Asians eat everything.

here is a Korean video showing you how to prepare them:

and here is a recipe of a Filipino dish from the Visayas:

Thursday, December 13, 2018

hint: Blocking shipping lanes affects many folks

Here in the Philippines, we sat back while China stole the Philippine fishing grounds and area in our economic zone, because Obama pressured PNoy (president Aquino) not to be aggressive when China dug up the sea floor, destroyed the local ecology, stopped our fishermen from working in their traditional areas, and now have built islands with military equipment such as missiles that can take out airplanes and ships.

The back story is worse: China bribed Gloria with the ZTE deal money to give them rights to the area, but our press found it out and it was stopped. This 2011 GMA article shows how her 2004 bribe led to China's aggression:

The latest series of diplomatic protests lodged by the Philippines with China and submitted also to the United Nations have its roots to the controversial Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking entered into by the Arroyo government with China in 2004 which allowed China and later on Vietnam to explore not only the Philippine-occupied islands in the disputed mineral-rich Spratlys but areas that are clearly Philippine territory.
The JMSU was signed during Gloria Arroyo’s 2004 visit to China which paved the way for the signing of at least two graft-riddled deals: North Rail and national broadband network with ZTE agreements.

so anyway, while the MSM seems to be covering Hillary dancing with Kerry at a Bollywood like wedding in India, they are ignoring the real news, which can be found in the back pages: that Secretary Mattis is over there talking with India and that the Indian secretary visited not just the US but Hawaii, where the military headquarters for the "Indo Pacific" command" is located.

from Austin Bay:

Here's my translation: When it comes to China's aggressive behavior in the South China Sea and the Himalayas, India and the U.S. are on the same page. India, a nuclear-armed regional power, and the U.S., a global hyperpower, despite their political disagreements, oppose Communist Chinese imperialism. India will not be anyone's lackey. Hence Mattis' recognition of India's "strategic autonomy." But "strategic partnership" enhances India's and America's ability to deter a nuclear-armed global powerhouse (China).
there is a Philippine aspect to this: Shipping routes.

The main shipping route from the Middle East (and from India) to Korea and Japan pass through the West Philippine sea.|

and they continue to be aggressive, while promising (but not actually doing anything) help for the Philippines if Duterte keeps quiet about the theft.

More at StrategyPage.  (read the whole thing).

one result is that the Philippines has been visited by both  Japanese and the Indian Naval ships.

as for China: see Wikipedia article on "strong of Pearls" bases in the Indian Ocean.

Remember: China thinks long term, and the ground work is being laid to take over Central and South Asia. Having control of the sealanes is a threat to the economies of weaker nations in the area.

for example, China is extending their influence into Paksitan, building a port in their south. But not using local labor, but importing 50 thousand of Chinese to do the work. (and eventually they estimate half a million Chinese will work there, living in a gated community). (note: Pakistan, like the Philippines, exports hundreds of thousands of construction and industrial workers, especially to the Middle East, so it's not like they couldn't hire local people. So will there be push back? I have no idea.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Home town Christmas

to my puritanical American eyes, the new Ferris wheel and the Christmas decorations and the kiosks to sell street food seem a bit over the top.

But you know, what it means is that the city square is now full of local people, and the ferris wheel is a symbol of the town's prosperity (not to mention a lot of fun for the kids in the newly repaired city square).

Report here:

GAPAN CITY, Nueva Ecija -- A 100-foot Christmas tree, tunnel lights with over 50,000 bulbs and a 45-meter tall ferris wheel-cum-giant lantern, were among the main attractions of the city's grand Christmas festival dubbed “Masaya ang Pasko sa Gapan” that was formally launched here over the weekend.
Mayor Emerson Pascual said the PHP50-million ferris wheel that was built under the city government tourism program will be open to all the local residents free of charge and with "minimal fees" for local tourists.
Pascual said the Christmas bulbs were lit up Saturday night to treat the people to a colorful holiday and "let them feel the true spirit of Christmas." “A nativity scene was also blessed,” he said. The tunnel lights that span 700 meters and placed a few meters away from the national road, emphasized the fully-decorated town plaza that has become an attraction to both residents and visitors.
the Christmas festival launching program kicked off with the performance of popular singer-comedian Janno Gibbs. Pascual assured visitors that the city, with its improved peace and order condition, is ready to welcome tourists.

improved peace and order. Blame Duterte (and our mayor, who now is using city funds for things like this instead of diverting the money into his pocket).

and some of the locals vlog:

this vlog shows the square down the street from us. We are in the old section of town: Not the rich part, although some families are ex pats or have families overseas who send money to improve their homes. (the gated housing for the affluent is up near the mall and the new city hall, where the town is expanding).

in other words, middle and working class folk who can easily walk there or take a tricycle to the party.

this starts at the mall but quickly changes to downtown;
.------------this one is shorter>>>>>>>>>>>>>-----------

the city square also has been the place for jogging, where Lolo used to jog every morning, and for the past 5 years holds a morning exercize class (which is too vigourous for my old bones). Up to recently, however, it looked run down and shoddy: Now it looks pretty and clean.

Now, if only people would put all of their discarded plastic cups and bags into the trash bins. These predate the present mayor and are used, but often at night the dogs and cats spread the garbage around to look for left overs.

the former mayor also covered the ditches so the open air market wouldn't flood so much. Too bad that the cement used was substandard and is several places, the covers collapsed completely and had to be replaces.

The electric wires are also being replaced with cables instead of the numerous wires that got tangled and often sagged and got broken by passing rice trucks.

Next step: gradually replace all the broken water pipes.

Part of the problem is that with the increase in prosperity, the traffic is worse: So the trucks now go around our house since downtown the main street is one way. And the streets (and covers to the drainage ditches that go under the street or get parked on by trucks making deliveries) can't always take the heavy loads.

There are also more outreach programs for the sick: there is a clinic for sick kids behind the old city hall near the square, and more grants for the elderly indigent to get their blood pressure and diabetic medicines for free.

The vacant lot across the street has been cleaned up and now has a store to supply audiosystems for cars and tricycles, and also to paint cars etc.

This is bad news for the dogs.

when we moved here, south of the house was open land, but now it is full of new houses, some of which have small shops. So things are improving. But no more sleepy town with waterbuffalo grazing up the street in the vacant lots.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Grits are back. Yum. (and pass the Tortillas)

the NYTimes reports that Trumpieboy has rolled back the Obama school lunch rules:

 Under the new rules, only half of the grain products on the cafeteria’s weekly menu must be whole grain-rich....
The Trump administration asserts in the new rules that administrators have struggled to find food products that meet these standards while also pleasing students. Schools have been able to request exemptions from the rules if they demonstrate financial hardship, and the government has said the most popular requests have been for regional staples like grits in the South and tortillas in the Southwest.

yum! Grits!


and really yummie: Cheeze grits


as for Tortillas, my sons were Colombianos, and came from an area where they grew potatoes and did not eat tortilla or TexMex food until they moved to the USA.

However, my son's wife is Mexican American and when I visited, we had tortillas with every meal.


 actually I was in favor of the healthy food for kids in schools; The problem was that they overdid it.

 When we worked with our diabetics in the IHS, we didn't give them exotic foods: We gave out recipes on how to change the ingredients of commonly eaten food, to make the food lower in fat and simple carbohydrates, to be more healthy.

for example, one favorite food on the "res" was Indian tacos: Made with frybread (dough that is fried in lard. Yum).

FryBread is originally Navajo, but is a favorite all over: Our elders used to sell Indian Tacos using fry bread instead of tortillas once a week to raise money for the Elderly center.

first, you need a recipe on how to make healthier fry bread from NewsOk:

Substituting half the white flour with whole-wheat flour to increase the fiber content, because the fiber in whole grains helps reduce cholesterol in the body. Substituting fat-free milk for the water called for, to add calcium to the nutrition profile and to give extra flavor to the finished product. Using canola oil instead of lard in which to fry the bread. Canola oil is a mono unsaturated fat, while lard is a saturated fat that is not heart healthy.

Here is the "healthy" version of the recipe for the stuffing, using low fat cheese and lots of veggies.

The Belangiga Bells are back

The Belangiga bells have been returned from the USA to the Philippines, and the country is happy about it.

Photo credit Doy Marcosos:PhilInquirer

PhilInquirer relates why they were taken.

The bells were taken by American forces in September 1901 from a Catholic church in Balangiga, after Filipinos killed 48 out of 74 U.S. soldiers. As a retaliatory attack, U.S. forces razed the town which killed thousands of Filipinos, in what is known as Balangiga Massacre. The Americans took the bells as war trophies

Yes. The takeover of the Philippines from Spain to the US resulted in a lot of atrocities (on both sides: and the American retaliation was very barbaric. Then there were a lot of deaths from disease etc. A little remembered part of American history).

Ironically, Mark Twain was one of the most famous writers who opposed American policy, pointing out:

If it had been played according to the American rules, Dewey would have sailed away from Manila as soon as he had destroyed the Spanish fleet – after putting up a sign on shore guaranteeing foreign property and life against damage by the Filipinos, and warning the Powers that interference with the emancipated patriots would be regarded as an act unfriendly to the United States...
Dewey could have gone about his affairs elsewhere, and left the competent Filipino army to starve out the little Spanish garrison and send it home, and the Filipino citizens to set up the form of government they might prefer, and deal with the friars and their doubtful acquisitions according to Filipino ideas of fairness and justice – ideas which have since been tested and found to be of as high an order as any that prevail in Europe or America.



Pope vs evil conspirators

At least that is what the NYTimes would have you believe.

See my earlier post on Steve Bannon.

get Religion has the story and links:

The first story is a legitimate profile of Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis, whose life has taken her from the heights of glitterati fame to where she is now — a Catholic philanthropist with very conservative Catholic beliefs and a willingness to work with the rich and the poor.
The second story is — brace yourself — about Stephen K. Bannon and his ongoing efforts to promote his own power and prestige, primarily by spinning conspiracy theories that make cultural progressives go nuts. (Click here for a GetReligion post about a previous chapter in this drama and here for another.)

this is part of a growing civil war by not just the radical trads but more mainstream believers who are worried about the Pope for spreading confusion in doctrinal matters, especially about sexual sin or the holiness of the Eucharist.

the most recent example of this is the Pope's comments about not letting active homosexuals into seminaries, while at the same time he promotes people like Cardinal McCarrick to important posts, even though McCarrick not only was a serial abuser but was also weak on pro life and other issues in his public office.

One hint on why this is: he was a great fund raiser.

 Follow the money also has to do with some people suspecting a conspiracy against Pope Benedict to force him to resign. the latest conspiracy theory was the the Vatican Bank scandal was used to force his resignation.

For a summary by a non crazy person, check out Dr. Taylor Marshall's video from last August, and remember: Things have gotten worse since then:

Don't ask me: I'm just a lowly Catholic who loves the sacraments and the Lord, and realize that the field of wheat has a lot of tares in it, but that doesn't mean you destroy the whole field.

as for here in the Philippines, even Rappler (who is feuding with Duterte) has an editorial saying that Duterte's criticism of the church in this matter is like the pot calling the kettle black: both need to clean up their act.

on the other hand, when priests get killed for defending the rights of the poor against the powerful (usually about land reform or stealing the local's land for mining etc that would pollute the area), it shows you can't paint the entire priesthood with the same brush.