Friday, May 31, 2019


If you have HBO, you should make sure to watch the miniseries on Chernobyl.

Forget all those fake "zombie" movies. This is real. And even more frightening.

one of the themes in the story is to insist on the truth, and reject lies.

See podcast that discusses this here: LINKTOVIDEO

one is reminded of Soltzenitsyn's speech: Live not by lies:

several thoughts on all of this:

One: The Chernobyl meltdown was bad, and the government's denial of reality made it worse. The bureaucrats saw their ideas as truth, and punished or intimidated those who tried to show them what was real.

This was partly because of communism, but what is scary is the coverup of how close a similar meltdown almost happened at Three Mile Island and Fukushima.

Two: at Russia's request, the US sent over doctors who had expertise on bone marrow transplant (at that time experimental for leukemia) to try to save live.

Three: I remember the story about a group of students who had decided to visit Kiev that summer (because of bombs going off in Paris etc. they thought it would be safe) and ended up having to go home when Chernobyl happened

Hmm.. reminds one of the story of the appointment in Samarra.

Four: The name "Chernobyl" means wormwood, and there is a prophecy that Wormwood would poison one third of the earth. This Wikipedia article points debunks this idea.  However, that is science: The prophecy is poetry, where people see a pattern behind an incident and use the "prophecy" to give it a deeper meaning... and if there is a prophecy that foretold the disaster, it meant that God was in control... so no matter what happened, it is his will.

Five: what stopped Chernobyl from poisoning the earth was the heroism of the "little people": Those who pushed back on the Bureaucratic lies, but also the firemen and others who risked their lives because it was was what they were supposed to do.

So when you ask :Where is God in this" the answer is: you are his hands when you do your duty.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Persian history

Masaman, whose videos discuss ethnic cultures world wide, today puts up this video on ethnic Persian history:

Pre Eskimos?

I wasn't aware that there was a pre Eskimo culture.

NatGeo article about them.

Inuit hunters in the Canadian Arctic have long told stories about a mysterious ancient people known as the Tunit, who once inhabited the far north. Tunit men, they recalled, possessed powerful magic and were strong enough to crush the neck of a walrus and singlehandedly haul the massive carcass home over the ice.
the stories described the Tunit as a reticent people who kept to themselves, avoiding contact with their neighbors.Many researchers dismissed the tales as pure fiction, but a major new genetic study suggests that parts of these stories were based on actual events.
In a paper to be published Friday in Science, evolutionary geneticist Eske Willerslev and molecular biologist Maanasa Raghavan, both of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and their colleagues reveal for the first time that the earliest inhabitants of the Canadian Arctic—a group that archaeologists call the Paleo-Eskimos—lived in isolation from their neighbors for nearly 4,000 years, refraining from any mixture with Native Americans to the south or with the ancestors of the modern Inuit.

The culture may have died off after meeting modern Inuit, or maybe from Viking diseases.

They had a rare variation of the D2 haplogroup, and although the Nat Geo article says there was no interbreeding or contact, modern studies in Alaska show that this rare haplogroup is indeed found among some of the modern Inuit.

Wikipedia on the Dorset culture.

Remains of a Dorset stone longhouse in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut Carving of a polar bear The Dorset was a Paleo-Eskimo culture, lasting from 500 BC to between 1000 and 1500 AD, that followed the Pre-Dorset and preceded the Inuit in the Arctic of North America.

uh, Pre Dorset culture? Wikipedia article on them:

The Pre-Dorset is a loosely defined term for a Paleo-Eskimo culture or group of cultures that existed in the Eastern Canadian Arctic from c. 3200 to 850 cal BC,[1] and preceded the Dorset culture.[2] Due to its vast geographical expanse and to history of research, the Pre-Dorset is difficult to define. The term was coined by Collins (1956, 1957) who recognised that there seemed to be people that lived in the Eastern Canadian Arctic prior to the Dorset, but for whose culture it was difficult to give the defining characteristics.
the Canadian Museum of history has this article on the Dorset culture:
1) Inuit
2) Northern Indian Lands
3) Dorset Culture
4) Norse Colonies

"The Tunit were a strong people, and yet they were driven from their villages by others who were more numerous, by many people of great ancestors; but so greatly did they love their country, that when they were leaving Uglit, there was a man who, out of desperate love for his village, harpooned the rocks and made the stones fly about like bits of ice." Ivaluardjuk, Igloolik, 1922

I never worked in Alaska so much of this is something I will have to explore later if I get around to it.

One thing that brought this up was that we had watched the film "Lost in the Barrens", based on the book by Canadian Naturalist Farley Mowatt.

The boys were warned not to go into the barrens which were haunted by a reclusive people who killed intruders,  and so that area was avoided by the local Indians even when they needed food.
But they ended up being rescued by these "Eskimos".

People magazine article on the author and his book Never Cry Wolf (ebook here) which was being made into a Disney movie.

Farley wrote a book about the People of the Deer about the Eskimo hunters who helped him, and the white man's incursions into their land, but it makes me wonder if the author wasn't using the legend of the strong but reclusive remnants of this group as part of his novel. ( ebook on internet archives with free registration)

I can't find a freebie version of Never Cry Wolf, but the movie Lost in the Barrens can be watched at Youtube, as can the follow up movie.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial day is to remember

Michael Crescenz was one of my classmates.

His story is here.

they have named the Philadelphia VA hospital after him.

A couple years ago, after his parents died, the family arranged to move his body to Arlington Cemetary: Many of my classmates attended the memorial mass and accompanies the body on it's trip. Story here.

I wrote about it here on BloggerNews:(who holds the copyright):

One of my emails notified me that a Michael Crescenz, a classmate of mine, will be buried Monday May 12 in Arlington Cemetery. He was killed 40 years ago, in Viet Nam. Ah, it’s been many years since I thought of Michael, and even then I remember him as a young boy, not as the man he was when he died.

It’s often mocked, but outside of the elites, there is another America, where love of country isn’t seen as silly, and that includes accepting the responsibility to defend your country. In the 1960’s the fight was against murderous insurgents trying to overthrow a corrupt government that was allied with the US.

So many of my friends went to war, and some didn’t come back. One who didn’t return was Michael, who was buried with his family in the local cemetary. Visiting the cemetery to place flowers or pray is common, and his parents wished his grave to be nearby for family to visit.
But after his parents passed away, his brother convinced the family that Michael’s body should be moved to Arlington. And so, last week his body was disinterred in a small ceremony that included family and friends, and Monday, his body is to be moved in a convoy with various State Police motorcycle escorts and the Patriot Guard Escorts.
But why Arlington? Isn’t that for VIP’s?photo
In the morning his unit engaged a large, well-entrenched force of the North Vietnamese Army whose initial burst of fire pinned down the lead squad and killed the 2 point men… Immediately, Corporal Crescenz left the relative safety of his own position, seized a nearby machine gun and, with complete disregard for his safety, charged 100 meters up a slope toward the enemy’s bunkers…
His actions allowed his unit to survive.
A medic in his unit gives this description in a local newspaper:
“He definitely stood up that day and broke the logjam we were in,” says Stafford,….While Michael drew the enemy’s fire, Stafford advanced to help a wounded soldier who couldn’t pull himself to safety. As Stafford tended to the man’s injuries, Michael put himself between the medic and the enemy. That’s when Michael was killed.
“Things happen so quickly in a war, and you wonder why certain things happen to some but not others,” Stafford says. “I figured out after many years that it just wasn’t my time.
So Stafford and the unknown soldier live, but Michael died. And somewhere there is an answer to all of these things, but in the meanwhile, family and friends cope and trust in the Lord that all things will work for the good in the Lord’s time.

photo from the Catholic Standard and Time.
In the meanwhile, the family is comforted that Michael will rest with his friends in Arlington, a hero among other heroes.

The common view among the elites about the VietNam war was that it was a “mistake”; I am not so sure that history will agree with the story, especially if the history is written by the Cambodians, ethnic Chinese or VietNamese Catholics and Buddhists who fled the massacres and terrors of the 1970’s and 1980’s.

And if today I live in a moderately peaceful Philippines, it might be because the “holding action” against communism enabled countries like Thailand, Indonesia,  Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines to enact carrot and stick policies that stopped these governments from similar communist takeovers.

So, sleep in peace, Michael, and I’ll remember you and your family at Mass tomorrow.

Cat item of the day

from LINK

Cyberstuff in the news

DavidReneke's Spaceblog has a report on Space X's satellite launch last week:

Entrepreneur Elon Musk’s firm aims eventually to loft nearly 12,000 spacecraft for its “Starlink” network. SpaceX is one of several commercial outfits with permission to fly an internet mega-constellation. Others include the UK-based start-up OneWeb, which began its roll-out in February with six operational spacecraft....
it will be some time before SpaceX can actually offer connections to the internet. For that it must launch many more than the 60 spacecraft on Thursday’s Falcon. Six further rocket flights will have to take place before minor broadband coverage is achieved. A dozen launches are required for moderate coverage, says Mr Musk. He hopes ultimately that revenue from the telecommunications network can fund some of his other ideas: “We think this is a key stepping stone on the way towards establishing a self-sustaining city on Mars and a base on the Moon.”

how will this change things? has an article on how private space satellites have been there for quite awhile (Direct TV for example), and discusses how this will change things in the future.

related: 5G:

and some of this is about Huawei in the USA: there is a big worry they can spy on you.

or as Richard Fernandez puts it:

If Globalization Meant China Could Turn off Your Fridge, Would You Still Like It?

China stealing intellectual property?

what else is new: It's been an open secret for at least 30 years (and ignored by Clinton who arranged a way for rocket technology be sent to China).

Well, since my Lenovo computer came with illegal embedded software to spy on me (removed after someone found out and insisted they send you a way to do this), no I don't trust China. (and of course, they hacked my US Gov't OPM file a couple years ago).

Strategy Page has an article about the US/China trade war, and includes a paragraph on how China is using a Social Credit Rating and other means to control their population.

In the northwest (Xinjiang province) it has been no secret that the extreme security measures have been mainly directed at Uighur, Kazakh and Kyrgyz Moslems. This includes a growing number of electronic tracking methods (mandatory cell phone apps, extensive use of high resolution security vidcams and effective facial recognition tech) that enable police to monitor most everyone in Xinjiang in real time and enormous detail. This system automatically detects and locates “disloyal” people and has them picked up for reeducation.

and guess who is their main target? Those pesky Uighurs, who object to the Han takeover of their ancestral land: Folks who happen to be Muslim: 
Nearly a million of these Moslems have been sent to reeducation camps and that has become an international issue, but not with Moslem nations who are usually quick to complain about any real or imagined slight by Western nations.
like the Rohingye refugees, no one cares because it isn't the fault of the US or Israel.

But then, how many western countries condemn the persecution of Christians in the Middle East or in China (hell, the Pope is even looking the other way).


For later reading.

and remember: a lot of folks in the US will be quietly bribed or given business deals to push their story. LINK LINK2  LI NK3

King Arthur

the legends of King Arthur lives.

Alas, despite the many films about him, most of them miss the mark.

Even the film of Camelot is miscast, with Vanessa Redgrave's overacting and lousy singing spoiling the film for me. has an article on Arthur's place in history and legend, and how his story keeps being re imagined and retold even in our own century.....

Each time, Arthur’s story reflects important elements of the society which invokes him, whether it’s the magic of childhood in The Sword in the Stone, the awkwardness of adolescence in Merlin, or the difficult problem of “truthiness” in Clive Owen’s King Arthur. ...
 The latest Arthur movie has this time reimagined him for an audience that is suspicious of the “elites” who may be unworthy to rule, and that values everyday street smarts over the chivalric training of the Arthur of old. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is made for the viewer who is not squeamish about sex work, and unconcerned with exploring Arthur’s early connection to Christianity in favour of magical special effects. The centuries of legend built on legend have been stripped nearly entirely, reflecting the popular twenty-first century feeling that if we just started everything again from scratch, we could do so much better.,,,
And yet, the core of Arthur endures, ever-destined to be king, to struggle with power he never expected, and to rise to be the greatest of all... As we watch Arthur transform to suit our own moment, it seems clear that, for the next few centuries at least, he will continue to be our beloved once and future king.
The article includes two video links about the subject:

the first is from the BBC TV series secrets of the Dead:

..... and a discussion at the BBC Radio In Our Time podcast:


This discusses Mallory's version of Arthur.

Signum University had a recent podcast series about the work: Check this webpage for all the videos.

Here is part one:


and don't forget Monty Python in the discussion:

Family news

Photo of Joy graduation from a local business course.

Ruby also finished her high school exams in Canada and is now a graduate, but will visit friends before coming here in ten days.

No graduations photos yet.

Kuya is busy at the farm: The monsoon rains are here, so it is time to plow the weeds under in the mud and add fertilizer (usually chicken manure, since we are organic) and minerals to prepare the fields for the rice seedlings...

So far, the roof is not leaking, which is good news for me: I no longer have to move the bed to the side so I am not rained on.


The bad news? the young white dog ("Baby")  decided to have her puppies under the front steps: We filled it with rocks, because other dogs have done this, but apparently she dug a hole in front of the rocks under the walkway, so we couldn't reach in to move her puppies to a safer place. So when the rains came yesterday (a torrential shower that lasted an hour) we heard her barking hysterically.

She did get the two puppies to higher ground, but the water was rising...

We couldn't reach the Puppies so we blocked the stream of water that was running into her hole while trying unsuccessfully to get her to bring her babies out. Our soil is volcanic, and the topsoil is thin (Lolo bought and laid river soil on top of the garden so things would grow). So the soil under the steps apparently absorbed the water fast, thank the Lord, and this morning she is now happily feeding her two puppies.

and our 4 month old puppie is going with Joy's cousins to their farm in nearby Bulacan.

She was a great puppy, but between her and her 1 year old brother, you couldn't leave anything on the floor or it got chewed up (we traditionally leave our shoes outside the door here).

That leaves us with 2 elderly dogs, four medium sized dogs, and the new born puppies to keep us safe.

as for the cats: Squeaker is nursing her kitties in the bodega next door, and MamaCat is pregnant again. Mamacat tends to have kids in the kitchen area, even when I keep moving them to a safer place. In the kitchen, the dogs promptly kill them: we hope she finds a safer place to keep them this time.


Sunday, May 19, 2019

Musical interlude of the day

Eccles suggests Handal's Alabama chorus, but I prefer Lynyrd Skynyrd:

yeah, those damn rednecks are at it again.

as for the Catholic bishops, well some are quietly approving of these bills: very quietly of course.

Most are silent as usual, except for those in Tennesee who would oppose such a law in their state.

Too bad this dangerous rebel is no longer with us:

the bad news: it probably won't stop any woman who is desperate to get an abortion. So expect lots of sob stories to be printed in the MSM. I was a doc before Roe V Wade and we saw lots of botched abortions, so expect sob stories like the case in Ireland who died of sepsis from a botched second trimester sex selection abortion and the death was blamed on the lack of an abortion law, details of course left out.

so women who really want an abortion will find a way to do it.

But it will slow down women who panic and force them to think of what they are doing, and maybe strenghten them to oppose their family and boyfriends who are pushing them to abort.

the Democrats are pushing abortion up to and after birth (i.e. they voted against the "born alive" bill, meaning you could let survivors of abortion in the utility room to die of exposure, insisting it is not the same as "infanticide", ignoring the fact that a trip to the PICU would save their life).

This is not "choice": This is deliberate killing of an innocent life for the sake of the mother.

Next step? Well, if you believe Peter Singer and Joseph Fletcher, you can chose infanticde: And if you believe Joseph Fletcher and other "bioethicists" you can do this up to age 2.  And logically, it means soon you can extend this to anyone who doesn't meet the criteria for "personhood", i.e. the mentally ill, the mentally retarded the senile, etc.

This is the "slippery slope" argument and you aren't supposed to use it when you argue against these things. The problem, of course, is that we see this happening in front of our eyes.

And not just in PC states, as the Texas "futile care" bill shows: You can let grandmom die of neglect if the docs say caring for her is a waste of money.

So the Alabama and similar bills are a push back to this idea.

No, it won't stop the Supreme court from throwing the law out.
But it will remind people that abortion is not a simple ethics free procedure, but the taking of a life, and they will not be silent when you do this.

And maybe all the Hollywood hysteria is about shouting to cover a guilty conscience?

Urban combat: The Battle off Marawi

This Australian military site has a long analysis of the Battle of Marawi in 2017, when Islamic terrorists tried to take over a small mainly Muslim city in the southern Philippines, and the battle that ensued after the AFP tried to take out their leader.

In May 2017, Islamist insurgents swarmed through the city of Marawi, taking the population of 200, 000 hostage and announcing it as a new ‘Capitol’ for Islamic State in South-East Asia.
This wildly ambitious, unprecedented move triggered a State of Emergency. As a result, from May to October 2017, fighting echelons of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFoP) deployed to Marawi in the Mindanao region of the Southern Philippines.
The Southern Philippines has proven a haven for Islamist terrorists for many years, however, anecdotal evidence suggests the region has also seen a recent increase in activity due to an influx of foreign terrorist fighters from the Middle East.
Prior to Marawi, the AFoP had limited experience in urban combat, with their training historically focusing on jungle operations to suppress various Islamist groups and the National People’s Army (NPA), a rebel communist group.
As a result, with almost no notice, the soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen and women of the AFoP were required to adapt to this new environment extraordinarily quickly.
The lessons learned by the AFoP from grinding combat in a large, broken, crowded city are important. The Australian Army has sound doctrine and training packages for combat operations in the urban environment, but it must learn everything it can from the AFoP’s vicious Marawi experience to ensure it is best prepared to operate, fight and win in similar urban conflicts.
lots of detail for military types about tactics etc.

Urban fighting is one of the most dangerous types for soldiers, since the defenders can hide and kill you. And the article notes that the AFP are famous for their jungle warfare skills, but had to switch to entirely different tactics here.

and this small snippet shows how the AFP was able to innovate:

Ground-Up Innovation Observation: In the Battle of Marawi, the Marines of the PMC had little to no access to smoke grenades. This posed a significant problem for mobility, primarily due to the sniper threat down firelanes (streets and alleys in particular). As a result, innovation was required to deny enemy observation and enable urban manoeuvre.
To conduct crossings, the marines of MBLT10 would carry a long piece of fabric, the height of a marine. They attached one end of the fabric to one side of the obstacle, and had a runner sprint across the fire lane, trailing the sheet behind him. He would then tie it off, taught, to the other side of the obstacle. This then enabled the entire platoon team or combat team to cross with relative impunity, especially as the resource-poor enemy wouldn’t risk wasting ammunition by ‘drake-shooting’ at the sheet.

It is nice that a "five eyes" state notices the bravery and expertise of the Philippine military here.

StrategyPage, while the fighting was going on, in July 2017 has an article about the background for the battle. Those behind the battle were hoping all the Muslims in the south would rise up and join them, but this did not happen... and this sent a message to the world wide terrorist types:

For years the Philippines had a reputation as a place Islamic terrorists could hide out. Everyone wants to make it clear to Islamic terrorists worldwide that the Philippines is not a place you come to find sanctuary, it where you come to die.

The US/EU MSM sort of ignored it, yet outsiders provided both money and personnel and equipment to these "insurgents"...and it notes they had prepared for it by building bunkers and tunnels. 

In other words, this was not an internal political fight but an attempt of the international bad guys to take over the area, similar to what was done in parts of Syria and Iraq.

headsup VoxPopuli (NSFW).

related stories:

March 2018 story in the Rappler about AFP and Australian joint training operations.

It assisted the Armed Forces of the Philippines during the 2017 Marawi siege. It flew surveillance planes to locate enemies inside the battle area and helped give crash course on urban warfare to Filipino troops used to fighting in the jungles.
Actually, most of the high tech help to the Philippines comes from the USA (the AFP don't like Yanks to do the fighting because they are proud, but US does train with them and assists the AFP).

However few Americans are aware of the fact that the Australians are doing a lot of this in nearby Indonesia (June 2018):

Since the 2002 Bali bomb attack that killed 88 Australians, the neighbor has been in close counterterrorism cooperation with Indonesia, helping the latter to fight the Jamaah Islamiyah terrorist group responsible for the bombing. Today, Indonesia faces new threats from the Islamic State, which is trying to have a foothold in Southeast Asia.

NYTimes Magazine from May 2019 about joint training exercizes between the US and the AFP.

You wouldn't know it from this article, but this is about the annual Balkitatan exercizes they hold every year here. And although it is the NYT, it is not really a good article, being militarily naive. For example:.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Pondanera, the Filipino officer helping to coordinate the exercise, said that he hoped the training would help fix some of the issues that plagued his elite forces during the siege of Marawi in 2017, like Manila’s overreliance on the smaller, better-trained special operations units in lieu of regular foot soldiers force and a difficulty radioing in accurate airstrikes.
The battle went on for months after Islamic State fighters took over much of the city, holding out against government forces and airstrikes before they were eventually routed.

yeah, urban warfare is a bitch. But the reason not mentioned: The alternative was to flatten the place and kill a lot of civilians. (many of whom were unwilling human hostages). So dangerous house to house combat was done instead.

And the NYTimes does mention that Chinese naked aggression against the Philippines is a threat, but not in detail. Never mind that the international courts said China's takeover of the islands nearby is illegal: The US MSM sees this merely as a difference of opinion. Presumably they will say the same if the Chinese invade Pagasa island or Luzon in the next few years, because... orange man bad and Bribery? what  bribery?

As for Marawi: alas the city has not fully recovered from the battle.

Has the Voynich manuscript been decoded?

Live Science discusses the theory t

He claims that rather than just a mix of meaningless words and symbols, the manuscript was written in a proto-Romance language that was often used in medieval times, but rarely written in official documents...

According to Cheshire, parts of the text reveal that the manuscript was compiled by a Dominican nun as a reference book for Maria of Castile, the Queen of Aragon in 15th-century Spain. According to his code cracking, the manuscript contains information on herbal remedies, therapeutic bathing and astrological readings; and it also talks about reproduction and parenting, among other topics.

but not everyone agrees: UK Guardian article.  Apparaently although the article was peer reviewed, the author was not a fully qualified academic.

Here is an old video about the manuscript:

Classroom rules

Saturday, May 18, 2019


the Pope is allowing pilgrimages to Medjugorje, and the "trads" are getting their knickers in a know about this, because 30 years ago, one famous trad writer wrote a book taking things out of context and exaggerating trivial problems, and a lot of people believed him.

and of course a lot of nut jobs started to hang around at the fringe of those going there and made other people suspicious.

However, the great majority of folks going there are ordinary folks, and find it a place of grace.

I went there 30 years ago and also found it a place of grace.

however, I have lost touch with what is going on there, because the civil war in Yugoslavia started then and then I was working on the "res" where we didn't get a lot of news...but many continue to report pilgrims still find it a place of grace.

if you have a chance to go there, I would recommend you go.

Ironically, I went with an Orthodox prayer group that included coal miners and steel workers and other "deplorable" types. The Orthodox priest who led the group had the permission of the local Orthodox bishop.

Half of the members of that group were Catholics: why didn't they join a Catholic prayer group, you might ask? Because there were none in our small town. We lived in the Altoona diocese and the bishop discouraged prayer groups... the few good priests hanging on trying to care for an increasingly cynical flock were pressured not to encourage people to pray, be it old fashioned novenas, newfangle Charismatic prayer groups, or Eucharistic adoration. (Enneagrams  and atheistic bible studies held by pc nuns were okay however).

Mark Mallet has a bit of information about the background of this place of pilgrimage, and covers their objections. LINK

the best secular report on the early apparitions is Spark of Heaven, by BBC writer Mary Craig.

and the 1986 BBC report here:

Cat item of the day

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Movie of the week

audiobook here:

ebook here at internet archive LINK

Lee's friendship with Truman Capote included her help with his research in writing In Cold Blood, and she is one of the characters portrayed in the film Capote

stories below the fold

StrategyPage has an article about the Ebola epidemic in the Congo.

Alas, terrorists (both Islamic and ordinary thugs) have been attacking clinics trying to treat folks there.

and they go into the real problem: Corruption.

Science magazine has an article about the epidemic also. They have been using a new vaccine to stop it from spreading.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) will expand its use of the experimental Ebola vaccine that more than 110,000 have already received to try to stop an unusually stubborn outbreak of the disease. New vaccination strategies will attempt to reduce the security risks faced by health care workers in the outbreak region, which is home to nearly two dozen rebel groups—some of which have attacked response teams.

the problem? Not enough vaccine.

One way the vaccine is being used is to give shots to contacts and to contacts of contacts: but it doesn't seem to be working here,

I wonder if this is maybe because not all cases are caught early enough or maybe because the large number in extended families/friends are not all found.

cross posted to my medical blog.

Bring out the antacid and eat

Madhur Jaffrey is interviewed for the FLOP podcast. Her books on Indian cooking are great.

Lauded as the “queen of Indian cooking” (Saveur), Madhur Jaffrey is largely credited for bringing her home country’s cuisine to America with 1973’s An Invitation to Indian Cooking. She has since authored more than a dozen James Beard Award–winning cookbooks. Also an acclaimed actor, Jaffrey won the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the 1965 Berlin Film Festival for her role in the Merchant Ivory film Shakespeare Wallah. With more than 70 easy-to-replicate recipes, her new cookbook offers a guide to making Indian cuisine with one of America’s new favorite kitchen gadgets. Join us to hear stories from her long and varied career.

mp3 link

my best friend when I was in training was from Southern India, so I ate and learned to cook mainly vegetarian dishes.

Jaffrey however is not vegetarian so includes meat in some of her dishes.

here she explains how to cook Tandori Chicken.

more at the BBC FOOD website

if you register to internet archives, you can borrow some of her cook books LINK

Monday, May 13, 2019

Notre Dame relics

one of the stories coming out of the Notre Dame fire is the story of the priest, a chaplain for the Paris Fire brigade,  who rescued the Blessed Sacrament and the relics inside the church.....

UKGuardian article on the priest's background.

Fournier previously spent seven years with the French armed forces, including a tour in Afghanistan. His bravery was noted after the 2015 Bataclan (terror) attack, when he tended to the injured and prayed over the dead.

and the article goes on to list the historical and religious relics inside the cathedral that were saved.

I am always sceptical about relics, but here is a discussion of the crown of thorns via National Geographic.


and here is an older documentary on the place of Notre Dame in French history

The heretic pope?

two years ago, four high ranking Cardinals asked Pope Francis to clarify confusion in his document on marriage, where a footnote was inserted that implied adultery was okay and that those living in this sin could receive the Eucharist, as if the holy sacrament was a "feel good" thing, not about humbly receiving the body and blood of Jesus. This is not just Catholic tradition: even Paul said receiving the sacrament "unworthily" was a no-no.

The controversy was called the "Dubia" question and to this day, and the blunt questions of the Cardinals has yet to be answered by Pope Francis, while his minions go around ridiculing those who dare to bring it up.

A few weeks ago, Pope Benedict released an essay about "sexual abuse": which he blames on the weakening of the idea of holiness in the church and the moral collapse of recent times.

Benedict originally sent it to be discussed when Pope Francis met with the bishops about the pederasty crisis, but of course it was ignored. 

So Benedict released the essay for publication in a "minor" church journal, and it was picked up by the Catholic branch of the Catholic blogosphere on the internet and was discussed by many lay people worried about the church.

The latest discussion of Benedict's essay is in the CatholicThing: the author noticed that Pope Benedict answered the "dubia" questions. And her analysis suggests that Benedict is saying that Pope Francis is indeed going against 2000 years of church dogma and morals to please the situational ethics of the modern PC world:

Whatever the reason, the world watched, read, and missed the answers to the dubia proposed by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in his April essay, “The Church and the Scandal of Sexual Abuse.”
In offering a three-part response to the crisis in the Church, he indirectly answers the five dubia that Cardinals Brandmüller, Caffarra, Meisner, and Burke presented years ago to Pope Francis. The pope emeritus fulfilled a duty that Pope Francis has not, namely, to maintain the bishops and all the faithful in the unity of the Church’s constant teaching on faith and morals.
What did the pope emeritus say? He gives the Church and the world an unequivocal No, Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes. Five questions, five answers.

Why worry about dogmatic trivia?

Here is just one snip that gives an example:

Dubium Three: After “Amoris Laetitia” (n. 301) is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that prohibits adultery (cf. Mt 19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Declaration, June 24, 2000)?

Benedict’s response: Yes. “A society without God – a society that does not know Him and treats Him as non-existent – is a society that loses its measure. . . .Western society is a society in which God is absent in the public sphere and has nothing left to offer it. And that is why it is a society in which the measure of humanity is increasingly lost. At individual points it becomes suddenly apparent that what is evil and destroys man has become a matter of course.”

read the whole thing because it has a lot to do with the collapse of civilized society in the modern world.

John Paul II went "over the heads" of the lazy bishops to strengthen the church, but now things have become much worse as Francis seems bent on destroying anyone who opposes his fancy church of sexual liberation, ecology, and niceness.

and I won't even go into the scandal of his cover up of bishops who are (fill in blanks here...  Yup. pass another "code of conduct" but don't fire them or punish them.

The problem is basic ethics: but the basic problem is is philosophy more than theology: it has to do with the question if there is truly a right and wrong, or is it relative, and left to the conscience of the individual. 

This problem is blamed on the 1960s but goes a lot further back.

Gresham college had a lecture series that discusses the reason modern atheists and others rebelled against the church as an evil restricting institution and that rejects traditional morality because it limits their "freedom".... Full series here.

so is there hope out there?

One is reminded of the conclusion of Cahill's "how the Irish saved civilization" that notes often the civilization is often saved by the least likely folks who often are at the margin and ignored by the self important.

The Gresham lecture on Christ vs Hitler notes this too: 

To many people it is incongruous, even embarrassing, that the twentieth century’s bestselling work of fiction is an excessively long, apologetically archaic and sometimes self-indulgent fairy-tale written by a philologist who was a very traditional Catholic, and whose most devoted readers were and remain teenage boys. But even if you share the now-receding literary disdain for J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, there is no gainsaying its cultural importance.
Tolkien himself had no patience for allegory as a literary form, and vigorously denied that he had written one, but if his War of the Ring does not mirror the Second World War which was raging as he wrote the book, it certainly refracts it.
Tolkien was an early and staunch opponent of Nazism in general and Nazi racial ideology in particular, in part because he felt the Nazi appropriation of his beloved Nordic mythology as a personal affront.
But while he never doubted the righteousness of the Allies’ cause, he was also a veteran of the Battle of the Somme, and knew that this war was, like any war, ‘an ultimately evil job’: so he told his son in 1944. And he used his own developing myth to explain what he meant: not only that there were ‘a great many Orcs on our side’, but that ‘we are attempting to conquer Sauron with the Ring’. Such a war might end in victory, but a victory whose effect would be ‘to breed new Saurons’.
Whatever we make of that as a political judgement, as a cultural prophecy it has proved uncannily prescient. Western culture has been breeding new Saurons ever since. 
so who is filling the gap identifying the new Saurons and encouraging opposition to them when the Popes and bishops won't take a stand?

As I have noted, in the Catholic wing of the Catholic church there are internet podcasts and blogs that fill in the gaps, from EWTN to  Father Ripperger to Father Z to Bishop Barron.

Yet they do not reach the unchurched population. 

but there are others there doing this: the most famous is an obscure psychology teacher from Canada who sort of stumbled into the frey.

Internet types like Jordan Peterson are busy trying to clarify things by fighting the nihilism in youth who watch him stealthily because he is not politically correct.

Like Benedict, and like the Gresham lectures, he is so nuanced that you have to listen/read it twice and ponder these things.

Here is his latest, which I am listening to as I write.

at 1:25:00 he discusses how a woman who wants a family is being ridiculed by modern "feminists" because having children destroys the environment. 


Philippine news

StrategyPage has a podcast on the recent news from the Philippines that pretty well summarizes what is going on:

They note China's economic push that includes bringing their own workers, and then using "strategic debt" so that when it can't be paid back they can grab the country's resources.

There is a lot of resentment against China for these things: as I noted in a previous post, they have 100 thousand immigrants here to do jobs Filipinos can do.

and SP notes what is true: Locals resent this.

Heck, locals hate the Chinese for their manipulation of the economy. Many of the oligarchy families that run the place have Chinese ancestors and bribes would help them to look the other way, but the locals resent the Chinese lock on the economy because it makes it hard for locals to succeed in business.

In other words, if you work hard, you still remain poor, which means too many of our best and brightest migrate elsewhere to support their families, either as permanent immigrants or as temporary workers in the Middle East or in East Asian countries.

Too many here know that in the Chinese language press the Chinese claim Luzon is one of their lost provinces... and locals are aware of this, even if the western MSM ignores it. And locals resent the Chinese illegal grab of our maritime resources: we won in court but Obama just shrugged and wouldn't help then president PNoy stop them.

 Duterte is buddy buddy with China is one of the reasons Duterte might be in trouble in this election.

on the other hand, his anti drug push remains popular,

and here, local elections is usually about which clan/ family member will be elected in the local election.

Happy Mothers day

the priest gave a special blessing to mothers at the end of mass.

Here, motherhood is still honored, as the heart of a family.

Joy gave me some flowers, but went to her mom's house for the family dinner. I was invited, but I don't really feel comfortable at parties, so stayed home.

Kuya took me to Shakey's for mother's day pizza after afternoon mass. Yes, we have Shakey's here (and McD, And KFC, and local franchizes Jolibee and Greenwich).

when I first came here, the nearest McD was 30 miles away. But things are looking up: Lots of traffic, lots of new homes and shops, and alas lots of "second homes" in what used to be rice land, for middle class families in Manila who want to get away from the city for weekends.

The election is being held Monday: Not much violence here, because the mayor is running unopposed: but lots of other offices are being voted on.

This AP article in a Japanese newspaper says it is about Duterte, whether or not the congress will support him. It has the usual memes against him, but the real reason he might win is found at the end of the long article:
Village guard Jose Mondejar, who lives in a Tondo community heavily festooned with elections streamers and posters, said Duterte's anti-crime campaign has reduced daytime robberies by drug addicts of passing cargo trucks by about 70 percent in his neighborhood. "Criminals once even opened fire on our village hall because we were cracking down on them," he said. "Now you can walk around here without being pestered. Duterte's campaign has worked."

lots of vote buying, and lots of worry of manipulation of the ballot boxes, all of which is normal.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Pigs and chickens and the US/China trade deal

The US news is full of political nonsense while the real stories are being ignored.

for example, the Democratic kerfuffle/fantasy and talk of impeachment has undermined the US/China trade talks (not to mention negotiations with North Korea). This is a good argument for putting Fox news on cable in Asia so other governments can discern reality from political spin (we have CNNPhil, Fox, BBC, and AlJezeerah on our local cable, plus local news shows and news on the Korean and Japanese English language stations).

One aspect of the China trade war discussion is the implication that China might fight back against US tariffs by refusing to import US food. This is being spun as Trumpieboy's fault  by the press for political reason. But things are more complicated than that.

Complicating this story is the recent decimation of China's pig population due to African swine flu.

The SCMP reports something usually left out in the US politicized MSM: That China's pig population is in the midst of an African swine flu epidemic.

China’s African swine fever outbreak and US trade war combine to create perfect storm for Chinese economy Beijing placed 50-70 per cent tariffs on US pork imports to punish farm states that support US President Donald Trump But with African swine fever threatening 200 million pigs, the biggest consumer of pork in the world is facing a shortage as demand and prices rise

China's tariffs on US pork is making pork too expensive for locals to buy. And a more affluent China uses a lot more pork than in the past.

And the trade deal which is supposed to increase soy bean imports from the USA now hits a snag because much of this is fed to pigs, but now there are fewer pigs to feed.

read the entire article for the economic analysis. China's pigs are usually produced in smaller farms, which complicates the matter. Not to mention the coverups and corruption that mean the reports might not be accurate.

Luckily, so far the Philippines hasn't been hit: pork imports are banned from infected countries to stop the spread here.

The bad news? Bans don't stop illegal smuggling. And it would only take one infected pig to decimate our pig population.

The Manila Times discusses.

The epidemic began as a minor outbreak among 400 hogs in Shenyang last year, and has spread despite efforts by Chinese officials to keep it in check.
So far this year, about one million hogs have been culled, and experts are estimating that at least 100 million will be exterminated this year. The US Department of Agriculture has forecast that China will lose 134 million hogs this year between the disease and efforts to stop it; that is almost twice the entire pig population of the US. The first effect of the epidemic sent global pork prices soaring...
so what does this mean for the Philippines? Will we take advantage of the anti US tariffs on pigs and export our pigs to China?

Ah but that would mean a pig shortage here, and higher prices for our folks.

One result is that China is now switching to Chicken for their meat needs.

SCMP notes that US and many European countries had Bird flu in their poultry, so China has banned imports from these countries until recently.

The answer of course is to breed more chickens in China. But there is also a glitch here :

China relies on imported breeding stock for production of white-feathered broiler chickens, which account for more than half the country’s chicken supply. 
We used to run a chicken farm and yes, we raised the white feathered broilers for local restaurants. We would be sent thousands of one day old chicks and feed them up, and then after 60 days harvest them.

Alas, we never made a profit because it was cheaper to import chickens from Vietnam, whose wages were lower. And then the chicken houses were flattened by a passing typhoon, so we didn't rebuild: instead we decided to concentrate on our organic brown rice.

However, this area still has quite a few chicken farms to supply the nearby Manila area.

The Philippines is off the migrating bird corridors, so we were bird flu free for quite awhile, until Bulacan got an epidemic in poultry (ducks, guinea fowl and chickens) in 2017. The epidemic was quickly controlled so we are now bird flu free.and can export chickens and eggs. But broiler exports are down and may never recover. LINK

the Poultrysite has an article on the pork/chicken dilemma in China, and goes into technical details.

the greens hate "big agri" and are probably happy about this, and it is true that this shows the weakness of uniculture in Chickens. However, the greens don't have a viable alternatives to supply cheap protein foods to the growing poor inner city populations (insisting on only free range chicken would be too few and too expensive to do this).

But uniculture means easier spread of disease.A lot of this is technical, so I won't go into cross breeding and breeding native chickens with the help of gov't subsidies, and I won't go into the GM genes that could make mass chicken farms resistant to bird flu and other diseases.

So what is the alternative? Fish? Tofu? The answer is that the poor will develop protein malnutrition and be vulnerable to epidemics, not to mention political unrest.

This article summarizes the world wide spread and the consequences of the swine flu epicemic. and notes that so far there is no vaccine to stop the spread, so quarantine and killing the infected pigs is the only way to stop the spread.

the only  good news in all of this is that the experts say that African Swine flu cannot spread to humans.

unless, of course, the virus mutates...

Angels unaware

did you ever get an inner impulse to do something, such as give to a begger or stop to help someone?

Professor Podles relates his experience in this:

Ed was from a Croatian family. He told me that his grandmother and mother had instructed him always to be kind and polite to the poor, because Jesus and Mary wander the earth in the guise of poor persons to test how merciful we are.
When I was working and supporting a family of nine on 35,000 a year...  I walked past a deserted storefront. In the alcove an older woman and her dog were sitting. She was not begging, but merely petting her dog. I gave her a dollar. I walked away and I swear I felt a hand on my shoulder turning me around and a voice whispering not enough. I returned to her and gave her a twenty (which hurt). At that very moment a young man walked past and saw what I was doing and said God bless you. What was going on? I still wonder.

here, we see poverty but most locals have families so ask for help from family or come to the door to beg from rich families.


Saturday, May 11, 2019


CSLewis on Chivalry:


Headsup from Father Z, who is blogging from Guantanamo (of all places) where he is filling in for the local priest who is taking time off.

Ironically, the plane that ;skidded into the river last week carried that priest, and it seems to have had problems when Father Z took it on it's next to last flight.

When heroes defend the helpless

NYTimes article on the man who stopped a shooting in the Coloroado incident last week.

shootings tend to be "copycat" crimes by the mentally unstable, but the Times also notes another trend: Fighting back:

Mr. Castillo’s actions as the latest act of self-sacrifice by students who now find themselves on the front lines of fighting off gunmen in America’s schools. His death came only a week after a student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte was killed as he stepped in to stop another gunman on campus.

Kendrick Castillo was killed while trying to stop one of the assailants during a shooting at his school in Highlands Ranch, Colo., on Tuesday.CreditCreditRachel Short, via Associated Press
Right now, the meme of "toxic masculinity" is big among the so called feminists in the media, but there is a counter story, about Masculinity being about protecting the weak from harm.

This meme is as old a Siegfried the Dragon killer, or as new as the latest Avengers story, where Ironman dies to save his fellow avengers and the world.

Yet most films are about serial killers or revenge, making the murderers and drug sellers the hero of the film. And justifying murder as revenge.  What's wrong with this picture?

and of course, the internet is full of sites that become an echo chamber or hatred that assure the mentally unstable that their hatred is justified, as is a violent revenge on those they hate.


GetReligion has the backstory: The killers were copying the original Columbine killers, aiming at Christians students and deep into Satanic things on the internet. They were primed by the anti Christian memes that Christians hate gays and trans, so it's okay to kill them. But of course no one will say this out loud.

one short comment:

After Columbine, I remember two girls telling Larry King on CNN that the shooters shot a girl after she said she believed in God. This became quite a meme until the press and cops debunked it, saying the tapes contradicted the story. Apparently the Christian girl (two were named as the possible victim) were not heard saying anything on the surveillance videos.

So the meme disappeared and Christians were ridiculed if they suggested that their Children were killed for their faith.

Months later, a Catholic girl who had been hit and spent weeks in ICU recovered and confirmed her reply was the source of this "urban legend": She was crying "God save me", and when confronted, admitted she believed in God and was shot point blank with a shotgun blast for saying this.


update: CNA report on Castillo and his family.