Monday, December 30, 2019

Family news

Staff party on Saturday evening.

Tomorrow, a big wedding for one of our ex secretaries who went to Taiwan to work and is now getting married at home.

Tuesday is New Year's eve, and the fireworks and fire crackers have started.

They are having parties and concerts in the city square, so they moved the kiosks selling fire crackers to the parking lot, which means the streets are full of parked cars. We have to watch our garage doors are not obstructed, and I put a pole in the hole in the sidewalk as a warning since the covering of the covered drainage ditch collapsed last year when a truck parked on it.

Our dog Babybaby had her puppies under the front porch: we can't see her or the puppies but she is eating and we hear them sometimes. She dug a hole there, so she is too deep for us to get the puppies out.

We went to mass at the mall yesterday: Not as crowded as usual since they have not held it for three weeks.

The traffic is terrible: mainly tricycles but now more cars and of course gravel and rice trucks. (main street is now one way, so we get the detours the other way around our house). I'm not complaining: it is a sign of the increased affluence of our town.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

musical interlude of the day


the Coventry Carol dates to medieval times, and is associated with the mourning of mothers who lost their children


Thursday, December 26, 2019

Family news

We had Noche Buena, and we went to church Christmas afternoon only to find that since there had been midnight mass, the English 4pm service had been cancaled. Oh well.

Lots of people came for their gifts: mainly local kids. I gave the cook 700 pesos in 5 peso coins and it lasted an hour. Then we locked the door and only gave (larger amounts) to actual friends, relatives and employees kids.

Kuya cooked a gourmet supper for us, and then we watched an old Peter Falk Christmas move (Hallmark or lifetime) that I found on youtube.😊

So we had a nice but quiet Christmas.

There is a typhoon in the Visayas: Joy reports their home there is under water and some houses lost their roofs. The rain hit us last night, quite heavy, but no wind. Today the sun is out.

Our dog Baby is ready to deliver, and is making a nest under the front steps, so I locked her in last night. However, this morning I opened the door and she disappeared.  If she doesn't come for food we'll search for her later today.

Ruby is at her aunt's house in the USA for Christmas; spending Christmas with her cousins.

Alas, her aunt is not there (she is with her husband, an air ambulance pilot on call for Christmas, and will be having Christmas with him and her mom who lives in the area and has been too sick to leave home).

My son stayed home for Christmas (he usually visits family in Colombia) because he now owns a home, and his wife's family is visiting from Mexico and California for the holidays.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Christmas stories

A Filipino teacher in the rural US discusses the cultural differences:  the kids don't automatically respect her as a teacher...And she feels lonely especially at birthdays and Christmas...

remember to ask local exchange students to come for Christmas dinner... many are lonely. And even non Christian students will appreciate the celebration of the secular version of the holiday, with it's emphasis on family and friendship


coolgreenscience blog discusses Reindeer, and caribou. and this related post discusses the differences. Both are variations of the same species.

Reindeer are semi domesticated, which is why there was once a project to teach Eskimos to herd reindeer as the Sami do in Scandinavia.

Alaska reindeer project (1892): decline and fall.

they exported the meat and hide products, and the market disappeared, so the locals stopped herding them. Another problem: Eskimos tend to live in villages, and not roam about following herds as do the Sami.

Canada's trial that moved Alaskan reindeer to Canada

Reindeer, a more easily domesticated cousin of the wild caribou, that the New York Times called “the camel of the frozen north,” had been thriving in Alaska for several decades since two separate herds were brought over from Siberia and Lapland near the end of the nineteenth century.

discussed here. (1935)

they are still there, of course

film on modern reindeer herding: antlers are used in Chinese medicine...


Saturday, December 21, 2019

cat meme of the week

How Billiard balls changed the world

Smithsonian discusses the exploding Billiard ball.

It was the huge popularity of billiards, combined with this fear of a dwindling ivory supply, that led to the development of plastic, a material that “came to define the modern world,” ...

“The billiard ball has to have certain physical properties. It has to rebound properly. It has to be of a certain density,” one billiards expert explained ....The only material that would do everything the game required was top-grade ivory... In the search for a substitute to this expensive and difficult-to-obtain material, a major company that made billiards supplies, Phelan and Collender, offered a $10,000 reward (several hundred thousand dollars in today’s money) to anybody who could invent one.
Although Alexander Parkes managed to produce the first material that approximated ivory, Parkesine was didn’t lend itself to commercial-scale manufacture. Celluloid, developed by John Wesley Hyatt, did.
“Celluloid and its predecessors were all made with nitrocellulose, also known as pyroxylin, flash paper and gun cotton,” Davis writes. “As you might guess from that string of names, these plastics were highly flammable, and when used in billiard balls, they had some, well, interesting results.”
Occasionally, as Hyatt himself recalled, two balls hitting each other would produce “a mild explosion like a percussion guncap.”

Celluloid was the original plastic, and it didn't stop there. 

the history guy explains that plastic made luxury items affordable for the middle class: and discusses Celluloid, the original plastic and how it's use spread from billiard balls to many many other items, and led scientists to develop more modern (and safer) versions of plastic.

not to mention making cheap photographs and movies and saving the elephants from extinction.

The Anti Coup

Librivox' audiobook of the day:

The Anti Coup.

Published in 2003.


Supporters of political democracy, human rights, and social justice have good reasons to be alarmed about coups d'état. These abrupt seizures of the state apparatus have occurred with great frequency in recent decades. Coups have overthrown established constitutional democratic systems of government, halted movements toward greater democracy, and have imposed brutal and oppressive regimes. Coups d'état are one of the main ways in which new dictatorships are established. Coups may also precipitate civil wars and international crises. Coups remain a major unsolved defense problem.
This book describes an anti-coup policy focused on defense of the society by the society itself, using non-violent methods. The two basic principles of anti-coup defense promoted in this book are to: 1) deny legitimacy to the putschists, and 2) to resist the putschists with noncooperation and defiance.
one point is that since Coups have unintended consequences, they need to be stopped before they occur, and the book discusses how to do this.

it is on Amazon, or you can also download the ebook or text on internet archives. or at the publisher's website.

related item:

Glenn Reynolds: Of Coups and the constitution. written Aug 2016.

the origins of the military coup of 2012 written in 1992.

and the book that the NYTimes thinks predicted Trumpieboy (read it and compare to what they think Trump might do, but so far hasn't done, suggesting that maybe they are a bit paranoid). 

Sinclair Lewis: It can't happen here.


here in the Philippines, we have occasional military coups, and impeachment hearings occur regularly (Lolo hated our lovely ex president Gloria and would watch them and cheer them on... nothing ever came from them, of course, but it was a great way to let off steam for her opponents).

Which is why I'm not wasting my time watching the shenanigans in the US congress. (not to mention they were on in the middle of the night).

It was passed in a hurry, with little discussion because... well I'm not sure why they were in such a hurry, but apparently they  couldn't wait for the court cases to decide about separation of powers claim (one claim was he refused to release information, which comes under US law as separation of powers).

But now it's sitting there for some reason, because Pelosi won't send it to the Senate: and Cocaine Mitch is up in arms:

Cocaine Mitch?

So where did that nickname come from? After an opponant accused him of being a drug smuggler because someone hid cocaine on one of his wife's Chinese family's ships.

From KnowYourMeme:
After Don Blankenship lost the primary, McConnell's campaign Twitter[5] account, @Team_Mitch, posted an image of McConnell photoshopped onto the poster for the television series Narcos, which follows the exploits of real-life drug lord Pablo Escobar. They captioned the tweet "Thanks for playing Don".
 the nickname is ironic and used with affection by his supporters: McConnell is slow talking and so mild acting that even when he was attacked by SJW (over a federal immigration policy instituted on President Obama's watch), he didn't fight back (although his tiny Asian wife did: never upset a Tiger Mother).

the other irony of this is that the publicity is bad for Joe Biden, who is supported by most non crazy Democrats in the US, probably because they never heard of any of the other candidates.

and ironically it probably won't hurt him much: Biden is old and slow but people figure he is "a man without guile" (as the biblical saying goes): so when his prodigal son was offered a cushy position by a Ukrainian oil company, well.., Joe just knew a lot of congressfolks' families got similar jobs, so he just was too dumb to recognize his son's job was an attempt to bribe him.

as for Pelosi: She just invited Trump to give the State of the Union speech in February. Meaning she knows he will still be president then.

So impeachment is just a political game: move along folks, nothing to see here

Blood Cobalt

Slashdot reports: Apple and google were named in a lawsuit over the death of children mining cobalt in the DRC (DRCongo).

(Headsup Instapundit)

Original report is in the UKGuardian.

The extraction of cobalt from DRC has been linked to human rights abuses, corruption, environmental destruction and child labour. The lawsuit argues that Apple, Google, Dell, Microsoft and Tesla all aided and abetted the mining companies that profited from the labour of children who were forced to work in dangerous conditions – conditions that ultimately led to death and serious injury.
the children were not physically "forced to work there: They work there because of extreme poverty forces them to work if they want to eat.
The families argue in the claim that their children were working illegally at mines owned by UK mining company Glencore. The court papers allege that cobalt from the Glencore-owned mines is sold to Umicore, a Brussels-based metal and mining trader, which then sells battery-grade cobalt to Apple, Google, Tesla, Microsoft and Dell.
Other plaintiffs in the court documents say they worked at mines owned by Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt, a major Chinese cobalt firm, which the lawsuit claims supplies Apple, Dell, and Microsoft and is likely to supply the other defendants.

so the tech giants who are going around the US and the world funding "progressive" causes are getting rich on the blood of children. So what else is new?

But one of the substories in here is that China is trying to get a monopoly on Cobalt and other rare earth metals used in high tech.

Bloomberg report from Dec 2018: not only are 8 of the 14 largest cobalt mines in the DRC owned by China, but they essentially own the supply chain to companies that use the mineral in their batteries, metal alloys, etc.

essentially they own most of the cobalt refineries, and many of the factories that make batteries for Tesla and electric cars.

Here, LimacharlieWord discusses the importance of cobalt to the Chinese economy.

They also note European and Chinese corporations and governments are "lobbying" to stop the country from taxing the metal in order to keep the price down. They also note China is not only investing in the country, but sending in a lot of Chinese to do the work.

and they note half the money for infrastructure sent there by China is "unaccounted for" (duh), and the political instability partly caused by a president who refuses to leave and wars going on in the area.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Minnesota not so nice

when my granddaughter went to college in Minnesota, I teased her that the locals are very polite: So polite that there is a phrase "Minnesota nice".

And don't forget Lake Wobegon, "where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."

Minneapolis welcomed Somalis and Hmong refugees, but yes there is a lot of prejudice: and a lot of it is against the Ojibwa who live among them: and we had to be careful where we referred our patients because of this subtle prejudice.

Subtle because often the educated don't know any Amerindians, and see them as stereotypes. And subtle because often the patients, especially the elders, would not make eye contact or respond directly to questions etc.

some, usually college educated people, are seeking a revival of the old ways: a lot of Marxism is in their push, alas, seeing the white folks who tried to educate them to fit into the modern world as evil (with an overlap of modern medicine of course being heartless, just ignore the real killers, like alcoholism, TB and diabetes) and the churches, who converted them often before there was a USA, as evil,, because of new age trendy ideas.

Given the weak Catholic bishops in northern Minnesota when I was there, I don't really blame them. But some of the older priests (Anglican and Catholic) were allowed to visit those with traditional beliefs by the local medicine men in the area: Because they didn't proselytize but only preached the love of God and comforted them in the sufferings of the walk of life that the Deity was requiring them to walk.

Yet the traditional folks never lost their beliefs and most Catholics mixed their traditions with the traditional beliefs and did attend ceremonies for illnesses, and the use of sweats to cure was going on, and used by many of our patients.

AlJazerah has a nice article about the problem LINK

Being safer and other war stories

StrategyPage has an excellent summary on what is going on here in the Philippines: we are safer now, and the cries of the SJW against Duterte are not the cries of the normal (working class/farmers) here.

They estimate the drug war has killed 5000: a lot lower than most "human rights" types estimate.

Why the difference? the SJW types blame all murders on Duterte, including types of murders that have been going on for years that have nothing to do with his war on drugs: e.g. Politicians killed rivals, angry folks killed crooked politicians and businessmen, and crooked politicians and businessmen killed reporters who spilled the beans on their corruption; druggies killed girlfriends/family members when they got angry, or killed people when they entered the home to rob them to get drugs.

so why are the "human rights" folks pushing the killer Duterte meme? Uh, because too many of the crooked politicians being jailed are their friends:
In the last few years hundreds of corrupt cops and other officials have been identified and prosecuted or simply expelled from their jobs if there was not enough evidence for prosecution. Many corrupt senior officials were identified and punished. Duterte also promised to do something about the chronic corruption and he did, with the war on drugs leading to the arrests of many current and former government officials who were corrupt, but are now in prison or awaiting trial.

they also note that Duterte finally got the clan behind the Manguindanao massacre convicted, and discusses the ongoing war against private armies, and the history of why they exist in the first place (local protection, to fight terrorists, and alas to intimidate their opponents).

lots of stuff about terrorism in their post, but that is in the south and since the NPA is quiet in our area doesn't affect us.

SP also has an article on the Philippines buying used war equipment.

The Philippines has managed to get a lot done with a miniscule defense budget and the use of second-hand, but still serviceable, aircraft and warships. Because of the problems with China in the South China Sea regional allies like Japan and Australia donated used aircraft and ships. The U.S. had already been doing that and former U.S. Coast Guard cutters, which are the size of frigates, have been upgraded to frigate armament and donated to the Philippines. These are now the largest warships in the Filipino fleet.

Filipinos like Americans a lot more than the Chinese, but are wary about being made a pawn in the China Vs USA trade fight right now.

related item: Strategytalk podcast on Hong Kong MP3link


not really related, but SP had this article summarizing wound care in modern war: specifically woundstat and Hemecon.

Over 95 percent of the time, the HemCon bandages stopped bleeding, especially in areas where a tourniquet could not be applied. Then came WoundStat powder to deal with bleeding that HemCon could not handle. While medics, and troops, prefer the bandage type device, there are situations where WoundStat (a fine granular substance) is a better solution (especially in the hands of a medic). Only the medics got packets (usually two) of Woundstat powder. That's because this is only needed for deep wounds and has a theoretical risk of causing fatal clots if it gets into the bloodstream.
Medical summary here. another discussion here. 

A lifesaver now being used by your local EMS, and even hunters and hikers are carrying it in their first aid pack.

Ah, but has Hollywood noticed this?

Well, in Mandelorian 7, the drop soldier stopped Carl Weather from bleeding to death from his wound because she carried a med pack with her, (but Baby Yoda saved his life because the wound was complicated by a fast acting toxin).

So yes, she was up to date, (even though she lives in a fantasy future)

But on 6 Underground, the film starts with a car chase where one of them is wounded in the back of the speeding car, and you see the person in the back of the car say the wound is bleeding, so the film shows them pulling out a small hemostat instead of using a clotting bandage. Then to make things (medically) worse they say "we have to get the bullet out". 

Why? If the bullet is in an artery, and you pull it out without proper control, the person will bleed to death in a few minutes. And there is no hurry in removing a bullet: that idea goes back to cowboy movies, in days before antibiotics. And doing it in a car speeding and swerving? Give me a break. You just put on a pressure bandage such as Hemestat, or if you don't have that with you, put a pressure pack on it, or even pack the hole with a tampon to stop the bleeding. In other words, you do first aid and keep them alive until they can get to an experienced surgeon.

at that point, I yelled at the TV and turned it off. and changed to watching cat videos from youtube. Because it might be a good "action" type film, but I have little patience with medical ignorance, and if they get such a basic medical information wrong, the rest of the film is also probably nonsense.

food links

The history of English (language) podcast discusses the first English language cookbook and how "the culinary arts" affected the evolution of the English language.

an excellent series of podcasts.

In Our Time podcast at the BBC discusses coffee.

more HERE.


in archeology, there is a way to examine the bones to find out where the person lived in the past.

Atlas Obscura discusses this in reference to the victims of an ancient Mayan Massacre.



Thursday, December 19, 2019

King Nestor of Pylos (or a relation)

The Univ of Cinncinati is excavating a tomb near Pylos, the town of King Nestor of Iliad and Argonaut fame.

this one is getting a lot of publicity because they found treasure there.

The photos are really wonderful: for example, here is a facial reconstruction of one of the "Griffin Warrior" buried there:

not quite as cute as Brad Pitt, but nearly as cute.

Headsup FR's GGG forum.

China in Africa

....crossposted from my mugabeblog.

Family news

below I posted about trouble in getting on to the OPM site to assure them I am still here.

I exchanged some emails with them, and finally found the problem: when I used Firefox, I couldn't sign into the site, but no problem when I used Chrome.

So I changed my password as required and presumably they will be happy until another year has passed and they remind me I have to sign in now and then to assure them I am still here.

Joy's mom is still in the hospital with a small subdural: The docs want to keep her there but she seems okay: walking, gesturing, and eating is the same as before her fall. 

The doctors even suggest taking out the clot, but without any obvious symptoms I told Joy to take her home, because the stress of surgery might kill her, and that we need to treat the patient, not the CT scan. If a repeat CT scan shows more bleeding, or if she develops weakness, then she can always return to the hospital.

She has had trouble speaking for over a year, and her falls are because she has Parkinson's disease. But essentially she is doing okay with her family to care for her.
Family breakfast Nov 2019 @ Himlayan, QC

It's becoming like the US here: the docs feel they have to do everything, (in the USA, not doing everything would get you sued). But a lot of the time, minimal care is better, especially for the elderly with many other medical problems.

Alas, with the push for euthanasia, a lot of the tradCatholic sites are seeing comfort care and minimal intervention as stealth euthanasia: which it sometimes is. But often the outcome is just as good (and a lot better for the patient). 

And Catholic medical ethics in the past has always said you only are required to get ordinary care, not extraordinary care.

So essentially the euthanasia push is destroying the trust between people and their doctors here: which is the dirty little secret on why minorities in the USA already refuse to sign "living wills": they don't trust the doctor.

and no, I'm not exaggerating: SenseOfEvents blog links to an article by one famous bioethicist who says life after 75 is not worth living.

" These people who live a vigorous life to 70, 80, 90 years of age—when I look at what those people “do,” almost all of it is what I classify as play. It’s not meaningful work. They’re riding motorcycles; they’re hiking. Which can all have value—don’t get me wrong. But if it’s the main thing in your life? Ummm, that’s not probably a meaningful life.
One wonders where he lives. He sees "elderly" folks as playing at life, or maybe isolated in a nursing home.

He doesn't see elders like Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi as representing the elderly.

Or maybe his problem is he doesn't live with ordinary folks who see the elderly as part of their family, and who rely on their love and wisdom, and who see their lives meaningful even when they are sick.

One reason Lolo and I moved to the Philippines to retire was because here elders are respected, and part of the extended family, not as a burden to discard.

This "family oriented" idea is strong here: Nor is it missing in the USA, where 43 million people care for their elderly or disabled family members without being paid, despite a society that is hostile to this.

So Joy's mom, who for 80 years cared for and imparted her wisdom to her family, is still loved and will be cared for by her extended family at home, just as my neice Emie was cared for, or Lolo was cared for, when they needed help.

Kuya is still busy at the harvest, and Joy is commuting between her mom's place and Manila, where she is supervising the booth at the trade fair.

still awaiting a verdict

APF has a good summary on the problems of the Philippine justice system and the background of the Manguindanao massacre.

Gunmen slaughtered 58 people, including 32 journalists, and dumped their bodies in hastily dug pits as part of a mass killing that was one of the worst ever of media workers.

We are still awaiting a verdict ten years later.

it has to do with politics, money, and corruption of course.

The Ampatuans ruled the impoverished southern province of Maguindanao and were allowed to build a heavily armed militia by then president Gloria Arroyo to serve as a buffer against a long-running Muslim insurgency in the region. Prosecutors say family members and their associates carried out the attack in broad daylight on a convoy carrying an Ampatuan family rival's wife, relatives, lawyers and the journalists, who were killed in a hail of gunfire. With scores of witnesses and mountains of legal paperwork, the case has creaked through a Philippine justice system notoriously overburdened, underfunded and vulnerable to pressure from the powerful.

translation: They murdered someone who was going to run against them in the election: meaning if they lost, they couldn't steal all that "development" money being poured into the region to fight terrorism.

And then there was that "hello Garci" link. Many hint they helped Gloria steal the election,(the Hello Garci phone call was leaked to the press to accuse her). Read this 2011 article at

And remember that lovely Gloria was released from jail by "human rights" types including Hillary's friend George Clooney's wife using the UN to say she was jailed for political reasons.

Gloria was a classmate of Bill, so must help friends? Who knows...

the AFP article notes that this is a headsup to see if the judicial system works.

Well it might work, but delays are common: The mayor who ordered the hit against his rival here that killed our nephew ten years ago (he was a bystander) remained free and died in his bed many years later and was buried with a big Catholic funeral, complete with Knights of Columbus body guard. 

Sigh. There are good people in the government who try their best, but rule of law is still weak, and hey, even in the USA, people can postpone their court date for years trying to get off, so I shouldn't point fingers.

good news of the week

good news of the week: Gary Larson's cartoons are now on line.

one of my favorite cartoon (although now out of date: They' have cellphones nowadays).

Stuff behind the headlines

I am not reading much about impeachment because it's all partisan: Dilbert (Scott Adams) says it's like each side is watching a different movie. 

Scott Adams' podcast: He is not impressed with impeachment. 

  • Senate Impeachment Trial: Opening statements and then a vote
    • Do we need more witnesses?
  • Adam Schiff says impeachment is because…
    • President Trump MIGHT commit a crime in the future?
  • Hugh Hewitt notes we are at Peak TDS today
  • Mitch McConnell says Senate’s job is to JUDGE the case
    • …as presented by the House’s TRIAL
    • Senate’s job is NOT to RETRY the House’s case


in a previous podcast he made fun of the "Q" conspiracy as being fake.

Yup. probably. But when I scan the discussion of Q on Free Republic I come to another conclusion: It is a way to calm down the gun happy good old boys who are ready to start a revolution: by keeping them busy trying to decode Q reports, and by assuring them that there are people in the government who will actually go after corruption so stick with the system. Of course on the actual site it might be different: FR is partisan, but JimRob keeps the bigots and violent type off the forum.

John Bachelor has a series of podcasts on Russiagate.

Part 2
part 3
part 4

AnnAlthouse links to the news reports of Trumpieboy's letter:

I wanted to list some of the ephemeral writings diminishing Trump's contribution to the annals of American history.
The headlines all push the same talking point:  (they must coordinate the headlines; all of them say it is "bizarre" or use an equivalent word) so why bother reading the details.

but she summarizes the letter thus

1. It's not just one more statement in the voluminous back and forth about impeachment. It's a written compendium of everything the President of the United States wants to say on the subject of this important historical event. It is long in that it's 6 pages. (Anti-Trumpers have enough to be able to disparage it as rambling.) But it's also short. (The Mueller Report is 448 pages.) It will surely be preserved and read and studied and reflected upon far into the future. It is clearly a historical document, unlike virtually all the other statements bandied about in — to use Trump's term — "this impeachment fantasy."
she then goes on to comment on his use of language: syntax is one of her interests.

I found the letter posted on a tradCath site LINK.

Why are the trad Catholics backing trumpieboy? The same reason they oppose Pope Francis: abortion and socialism.

me, I'm just interested in government corruption, why people in congress get so rich on their modest salary, and to why all these politicians' sons/daughters/lovers/spouses are getting lucrative deals when they are not especially qualified. From what I understand, there is no law against this. Hmm... wonder why?

and didn't anyone notice the FISA courts were lied to so they could spy on Trumpieboy? Is that fake news, or is it the tip of the iceberg? How many more innocent people were spied on for political purposes?

Is this connected to FBI "mistakes" that Comey just admitted to?

But then I'm old enough to remember the Church committee when the CIA abuses of power were curbed.

Back then, such things were Democratic issues.

as I said, I have a life and am not wasting much time on it.

But since the BBC and most American sites just follow the same meme, I just have to wonder: don't they recognize the harm they are doing to the USA with this? But of course, that's the idea: They want to destroy Trumpieboy's policies by either removing him or making him weak, and the headlines are part of this.

But impeaching a president for trying to get bribery investigated (not to mention all that money given to the Ukraine that has disappeared) is absurd.

It's the same reason I am skeptical about global warming types insisting the rich countries give money to poor countries where corruption is rampant and everyone knows it will disappear into the pockets (and Malaysian bank accounts) of their politicians.


Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Family news

There was a big accident in our town (Pambuan township) late yesterday morning: A gravel truck lost his brakes and hit a lot of people. One report says 7 dead and injured.

the video taken by a passerby is HERE, but very graphic: showing the dead and injured being taken away by ambulances and the mayor was there helping load them.

The only good part of the news is that, even though it happened in front of one of the high schools, that school was closed for the holiday: if not, there would have been dozens of students going home at that time and the death rate would have been higher.

the other good news is that we now have ambulances, and they were all there yesterday. (see video).

The main roads go straight through the town (and since main street turns one way near us, a lot of the traffic detours around our house.). The local traffic is mostly "tricycles" (motorcycles with side car) but some cars and heavy trucks carrying rice, gravel, vegetables etc.  They all "speed" but not really fast: maybe 25 miles an hour, and use their brakes and horn all the time to warn people, since often people are walking on the side of the road, and there are vendors at the curb where people buy snacks and socialize.

About once a year, a bad truck accident happens: usually when they collide with a tricycle or motorcycle that gets in their way and they can't stop in time... a neighbor's son was killed when his motorcycle was hit by a truck a few months ago... and then sometimes the men sitting on the top of the rice bags fall off when the truck stops too fast, and get killed.

Our town is prosperous, but mainly lower middle class, meaning that people do okay until there is an emergency.

Already one person has come for help with the funeral bill, and another for help since his relative had a head injury and is being treated in the next town....probably more will arrive later.

Sigh. As a doc, I've been in the ER when such accidents happen. Sigh.

In my prayers.


In other news, Kuya went to Manila for the big trade agricultural trade fair.

Joy was there until yesterday but her mom had another fall and is in the hospital being checked for a concussion/stroke. Joy came home late last night and will probably go back to visit her mom later today.

I just got an email from the OPM saying if I don't sign in they'll turn off my retirement account.

I tried several times, and couldn't get in, so asked for a new password, but that wouldn't let me sign in either.

So I sent them a letter saying I'm old, please snail mail me instead of using computers because I'm old.

Actually, I've had a computer since 1982: the problem is that they force you to change to complicated passwords and if you don't type them in correctly or if it's not complicated enough, they spit it back at you.  

And then, of course, they see my computer is located in the Philippines so they figure all those bad sign ins are by a hacker, and shut my account until I get in touch with them...

In the future, they will "fix" this with face recognition or fingerprints or putting the mark of the beast (/s) on your right hand or forehead.

My fingerprints and face are already in the local immigration computers here, and also were collected when I merely traveled through China on the way to the USA.

I know that I am probably on the NSA's "naughty list", and all my data belong to google and facebook, but hey, it doesn't mean I like it.


the good news: our cook's granddaughter's twins came to visit: They are two months old and cute. I am helping pay for their formula, since mom doesn't have enough milk for two kids.


follow the money


the reason I posted this is not the so called impeachment, which I am ignoring, but because of the link between the "Australian diplomat" and some lowlying Trumpieboy worker that led to the "russian" claim.

You see, the Austrailian gossip press has long hinted that there were irregularities in the Asian Clinton foundation funding of HIV patients with Australian gov't money, and Downer was involved.

This is an old story here in Asia, but the spin is now that this poor diplomat was being targeted by evil Republicans.

but Smith's reporting  from Australia has a lot more about the shennanigans there.

Smith is not exactly a conservative, and I've posted on the generics fraud in HIV patients and the Clinton foundation in the past on my medical blog.

the evil republicans at the Spectator summarize it thus:

In short, the audit described yet another taxpayer-funded Clinton Foundation boondoggle where nobody knows how the money was spent. This one was served up to the Australian taxpayers by none other than the same Alexander Downer who ten years later would just happen to cross paths with George Papadopoulos while Bill Clinton’s wife was running for president. And also by happy chance, Downer was able to help the Clintons by getting a drunken Papadopoulos to talk about about the Russians having dirt on Mrs. Clinton. What a remarkable string of coincidences!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Philippine Christmas commercial for the day

Family news

the earthquake was in the southern Philippines so we are okay.

Joy was at a trade fair all weekend and Kuya was busy with the rice harvest: threshing, drying etc.

The church that meets in our meeting room had their Christmas party: gifts for the kids and a small meal for everyone (i.e.pancit).

We don't live in a gated community but in the town center, and so a lot of the local kids came for the freebies. The service is like those of the pentecostal type churches: Lots of nice singing.

No, I didn't go: My asthma is bad for some reason so I am staying indoors with the air filter on. I feel fine as long as I take anti histamines, but they make me sleepy: Even the "non sedating" types. Not bad enough for prednisone however.

I didn't go to church is because Kuya was busy, and our cook was attending a funeral of the father of one of our ex employees. Usually I attend at the mall which is airconditioned, or else I attend the bilingual/English language mass at the local church. But I never travel alone here for safety reasons, except to go to the stores nearby or to walk the dogs.

I sat around reading an old book I brought with me: The Planet buyer by Cordwainer Smith. I don't have part two, but found it on line so now I know how it end. Smith's books are subtle, and it helps if you have read his short stories so you understand the setting, with it's underpeople and instrumentality who run the place.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Stage mothers aren't just in Hollywood

I just watched the movie Judy, (reviewed in a previous blogpost) and one subplot is that she was messed up because her mother pushed her to perform on stage and later in movies so she never had a regular life like going to the movies or dating boys without it being exploited by the press. 

Yes, a lot of her problem was also substance abuse (becoming hooked on amphetamines to keep her weight down for the films) but like many addicts, her "substance abuse" would probably never had occurred if she had not been abused, and like many addicts, she used drugs and alcohol to cope with life.

It brought to mind the parents of Greta, who have backgrounds in show business, who seem to be doing the same thing to her: because a normal parent would have stopped her acting out about her obsessions, not pushed her to giving speeches to the public when everyone with a lick of sense knows that she is not an expert in climate change,

so why use a mentally ill lass to push your agenda? Because if you criticize her, you are evil. 

and because they got the idea from Malala: 
(Malala is a real heroine, shot by the Taliban for blogging about her love of going to high school, which they opposed...and her activism is something she knows about personally: the need for girls to be educated.)

In Greta's case, she doesn't know things close up: only what she has been told. 

What is a clue that she shouldn't be giving speeches is how she has been almost rabid in her hate against those who disagree: making one think that this anger is not personal but what psychologists call "projection": the psychological equivalent to kicking the dog if you are mad at your husband.

So one had to laugh when Trumpieboy got criticized for telling her to chill it and go see a movie with a friend. 

ah, but no: the twittersphere is almost unanimous for crying:
How dare he criticize a child!

Except the way I read it was that he was criticizing her puppetmasters for not letting her be a normal teenager.

and indeed, the latest story is this:

she said that those who oppose her need to be placed against a wall.

In English this idiom means to execute someone, (up against the wall means being shot by a firing squad in front of a wall), so this was quickly made headlines saying she is inciting violence.

However, Greta insists it means holding people accountable (which is true: a better translation of this idiom from Swedish would be to nail them to the wall, as in nailing a poster to the wall so everyone can read what you said). 

But the damage was done.

but anyway, she is taking Trumpieboy's advice and taking a short vacation.


Will somebody please rescue this poor tyke from her handlers before she joins the rank of has been child stars who burn out quickly and destroy their lives?

I'm not the only one who thinks this. After I googled headlines on the subject I found that the WaExaminer just published a similar opinion piece questioning her exploitation, and it has more details about her family and mental illnesses.

If what that article says is true, then it makes her exploitation worse. WTF are her parents thinking?

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Destroying idols

GetReligion blog links to a WaPo article about ex gangmembers in the slums of Brazail, who became Pentecostals. The problem? Now some of them are going around shutting down Santeria and Voodoo type "priests" who hold services.

typical religious bigotry? well, maybe it's more complicated.

 The Small Wars Journal has an article on how this fits into the geopolitical situation there, and has links for anyone interested in the problem of crime and gangs controlling the poor neighborhoods in the cities of Brazil,

the "religious" aspect is because some gang members have become Christian, and take it very seriously: They attack pagan churches as evil. And alas too often they see themselves as vigilante peace keepers, including collecting "taxes" from local businesses to keep them safe.
The interconnection between gangs and religious sects is dynamic and complex. In many cases, religious movements are an avenue out of gang life and crime. In others, the two become intertwined. Sometimes the outcome is “evangelical gangsters.” Sometimes this occurs when a religious movement seeks to purge gangs and drugs from their community. Over time, these efforts become corrupted and the members become ‘vigilantes,’
sort of like the Mafia, which originally was a grass roots movement to protect people from the cops and the rich guys who harmed you. Or like the communists here, which fought unjust landlords, but later morphed into gangsters (Magsaysay wrote classic book on how to fight such insurgencies here).

Given the connection of the murderous Mexican cartel and the "saint death" cult, one might suspect that the gang members in Brazil could suspect a similar sinister influence by these cults. Or maybe they are just being iconoclasts.

I had posted a longer and a poorly written and disjointed post early this morning before the brownout started, but moved it here.

Family news

both Kuya and Joy are busy going back and forth to Manila to supervise the employees selling our organic rice brands at a big trade fair there.

Today, Kuya is going to harvest the last field of rice.

Today we have a planned brownout for 12 hours. Presumably they are replacing the chaotic electric wires with a single cable plus new transformers, and replacing the wooden (termite eaten) poles with concrete electric poles.

We do have the generator on: Mainly to supply water so we can do the wash etc.

But I won't be blogging much today.

in the meanwhile, Ruby is finishing her college term and will be going next week to her aunt's house for Christmas. Too expensive for her to fly home for the holiday, alas, and with the trade fairs, her parents can't go there to celebrate with her even if we could afford the tickets.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Musical interlude of the day

The Fraser's fireplace, plus music

actually, a film you can download and play on your TV

Boris wins?

Yesterday, the UKGuardian assured me that the "youth vote" (and they mean "youths" up to age 40) are being overlooked by the reports and will vote en mass against Boris and the Conservatives in the UK because they "loathe" him and his "racist" message.

the NYTimes had a similar hopeful message.

and today? WTF?

Boris (and Brexit) won by a large margin.

One clue that voters might be annoyed at the shennanigans of the politicians could be seen in the reports of long lines for voting.

if people are pleased with the government, or if they think their vote doesn't matter to those in power, they stay home. I mean, folks have a life.

But apparently folks have had it and got off their duffs to vote, because they cared this time and thought their opinions might be followed.

And the fact that the MSM in the UK didn't pick up that discontent among ordinary folks says a lot.

and why the caricature of Boris as Churchill? Because he wrote a book about Churchill. Actually he wrote quite a few books in between bonking lovely ladies and pulling stunts that get in the headlines.

here he faces Professor Mary Beard in a debate of Greece vs Rome.

Judy and other musical films

Just my opinion.

we just watched the movie Judy, and Renee Zellweger should get an oscar for her portrayal of that iconic singer and her struggles with addiction/alcoholism. 

The struggles seem real, not fake, as does her love for her children (who, alas, are being harmed by her substance abuse). It says a lot that she wanted to keep them with her, but had enough insight to let them stay with her ex husband when she couldn't care for them.

And the music in it was wonderful: The film actually allowed her to finish the songs, and they are the best part of the film.

I expected to be depressed by watching the movie, but it leaves you with a positive feeling: that despite her struggles and failures, she tries her best, and is loved for it.


 this is in contrast to "Rocket man", where the songs are given short shrift, and the psychodrama is trivialized by having too many fantasy sequences (right. He went to group therapy in costume and no one said anything?). The scenes don't really mesh together, and seem disjointed. 

So alas, even though I love Elton John's music, I really couldn't enjoy the film.

 In contrast, Bohemian Rhapsody gives you both the story and the songs of the group Queen, but unlike Judy, there is not much emphasis on the personal struggles of lead singer Freddy Mercury: the emphasis is on the music. 

Rami Malek does such a good job that you actually think he is Freddy Mercury. 

The musical performances are electrifying, and are one reason to go out and see that film: and I say that even though I am not a fan of "Queen"...


Google as big brother

Even here in the Philippines, google is spying on us, collecting data. And presumably they know who is searching for what.

From the PhilInquirer:

What’s trending in PH in 2019? Google reveals Filipinos’ top search queries

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Craft item of the day: Starwars edition

can't find baby yoda at your local mall?

Make one yourself.


or you can make your own Storm trooper helmet. LINK.

Philippine commercial says it all (try not to cry):


related item: Remembering the notorious Star Wars Christmas 
special of 1978

David Hofstede, author of What Were They Thinking?: The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History, ranked the holiday special at number one, calling it "the worst two hours of television ever"


Global warming: Blame South Sudan?

one of the major sources of methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, is methane, produced by rotting vegetation.

One major source in Asia is from the traditional way to kill weeds in rice paddies: which is the source of perhaps 30 percent of methane emissions. By flooding the field and then plowing the weeds under several times before you plant the rice seedlings.Full discussion here. and here link 2.

so the local gov't rice institute here in the Philippines is working with us to start intermittent dry and wet cultivation of rice to decrease methane emissions. PDF.

The good news: one of the under reported stories of the modern world is how the "green revolution" increased the yield of rice fields.

Wet Dry cultivation methods can allow farmers to get similar yields but the bad news about "wet dry" cultivation is that although it produced less methane, it produced more Nitrous oxide, which is also a greenhouse gas. LINK

So where does the Sudan come into this?

Well, methane is not just produced by flooded rice paddies, but also from swamps.

And right now, an increase in rain has caused the lakes and wetlands in South Sudan to increase in size, and emit methane.

BBC report.

Scientists think they can now explain at least part of the recent growth in methane (CH4) levels in the atmosphere. Researchers, led from Edinburgh University, UK, say their studies point to a big jump in emissions coming from just the wetlands of South Sudan.
Satellite data indicates the region received a large surge of water from East African lakes, including Victoria. This would have boosted CH4 from the wetlands, accounting for a significant part of the rise in global methane. Perhaps even up to a third of the growth seen in the period 2010-2016, when considered with East Africa as a whole.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Running for pope

The Pope just appointed the singing Cardinal Tagle of the Philippines to a big important post in the Vatican.

Illustration: Craig Stephens SCMP

So why does this matter?

I often joke that Cardinal Tagle of Manila is running for Pope, because he is busy doing politicking in the internationalist cabal of the church rather than confronting the real problems of the Philippine church: i.e. he criticizes Duterte's drug war that is being pushed by the internationalists under the guise of protecting "human rights", never mind that is making the country safer for ordinary folks.

But why doesn't he tells off the well known "catholic" politicians who take bribes and even "off" their opponents, do something about the cover up of sexual abuse by clergy, and maybe ask why there is such a high rate of people leaving the church to join Pentecostal churches.

indeed, the dirty little secret is that Brother Mike, the founder of a Pentecostal type movement in Catholicism, might be more influential in the Philippines than the good Cardinal, who is busy politicking all over the world.

Rappler's analysis of the reasons behind this political move by Pope Francis.

part of it is the Pope's strategy to break up the church into "synods" where each area can destroy tradition make up it's own rules.
Tagle is being pushed as a wonderful missionary guy, a real mensch, but the real reason for his appointments can found deep in this story on the SCMP: That, like Francis, he sees Vatican II as a rupture and a "new beginning" rather than a reform of the church. More here.

translation: Francis is stacking the deck with bishops and Cardinals who will destroy the church by dividing it into many "synods", where the bishops can then "reform" the ancient dogmas of the Church and the rigid rules of the ten commandments into the church of nice.

Pope Francis always insists that Vatican II was merely a reform and was in continuity of the church, but the appointment of Tagle and others like him shows that he is using deception as usual:  he is "gaslighting" us by saying one thing and doing another (or saying something completely different at another time). 

Here is a video from the controversial Michael Voris about Tagle and where he fits into the Pope's long term plans to reform destroy the church.

So what's the Pope's agenda?

 CNN recently pointed it out:

The Pontiff's new cardinals have defended the commitment to fighting populism, supported the inclusion of gay Catholics, sought to improve inter-religious dialogue with Muslim communities, and expressed concern with the environment and youth issues, according to their biographies.
that sounds okay to me.

But the devil is in the details, as the saying goes:

and that part about "fighting populism" means fighting Trumpie boy and others (Brazil's Bolsonaro, the yellow vest movement in France, and the protesters in Hong Kong come to mind)
who represent ordinary folks rebelling against the NWO elites.

This also is a hint that the church will continue to fight for open borders and for refugees: which in reality often means unscreened mass immigration of young men to richer countries, not to work but to go on welfare on the taxpayers' dime.

Inclusion of gay Catholics doesn't mean what it meant in pre Vatican II days (if you kept quiet, go to confession a lot, and don't flaunt your sins, hey no problem) but now means looking the other way at clergy cruising gay bars or inviting seminarians to their beach house and of course not criticizing the radical agenda that demonizes the Salvation army or anyone else who follows the Bible's rules as homophobic.

Cooperating with Muslims is no problem (Catholic philosopher Peter Kreeft even has a book on this). 

 But the actual documents distort the idea from "you get a lot of things right and we have a lot in common (but we hold the real truth) so let's see each others as brothers... to "there is no such thing as absolute truth, so why fight about it?".

and I won't even get into the "environment" stuff, which is merely the latest reincarnation of Marxism telling people how to live a green lifestyle in poverty while those in charge get rich

which brings us back to the Philippines.

This article note Tagle's grandfather was Chinese, and that this might help in the Vatican's controversial agreement to normalize let the government take over the Catholic church in China. (just ignore the pope's silence about Hong Kong).

and what is not mentioned in most news reports: the average Filipino hates the Chinese because the economy here in the Philippines is run by the Chinese diaspora and their family connections.

Hence, most educated and ambitious folks can't find opportunities here and are forced to leave and work overseas, either as immigrants or OFW on short term contracts where they are vulnerable to exploitation.

Archbishop Villegas discusses this problem here, but blames the problem on "western corporations"... uh, then why are so many working in the non western Middle East and Saudi, Hong Kong and Singapore, and Korea?

and as I noted: the answer is to get rid of corruption and attract businesses here, especially as many businesses have started exiting China. This was discussed in the SP Podcast that I posted as a video yesterday.

The Pope talks nice, but he is stuck in the "liberation theology" Marxism of the 1960s, which has been proven wrong.
It's easier and more ego gratifying to support charity for the poor and tweet about your self righteousness than to tell rich people to be honest, or even (like JP2) promote the idea that capitalism works best when business follows ethical rules.

Despite it's flaws, capitalism and globalism has lifted millions out of poverty in the last 50 years, and that the global poverty rate is now down to ten percent, mainly in SubSaharan Africa and in war zones... and give China another 50 years, it might be China who will teach Africa how to get out of poverty.

related item: against advice, the pope will meet with the president of Malta who is suspected of "offing" a pesky lady who leaked stories of money laundering and corruption among his cronies.

hmmm...wonder if he'll ask for his money back.