Why skirt the real issue? Why this bizarre hysterics about population explosion all of a sudden?
Consider the ff.:
Almost all First World countries are worried that their populations are not growing enough to ensure robust economy in the next 10 years, or at least enough nurses to look after the elderly.
Technologies to produce more than enough food to feed all the people of the world are available.
Food shortages are actually artificial, depending on the whims of the market supply-and-demand, the reason why farm produce need to be destroyed when there's a glut, and excess or unsold fastfood need to be declared as garbage.
It's not the population, silly.
And like F. said, why is there a fat problem if there's food shortage?
I am aware of the ecological concept of carrying capacity -- the environment can take only so much. In this regard, I am constrained to support responsible parenthood -- if you can't afford to have a lot of kids, then don't dare have a lot. The hows of it is up to your conscience, but I would preach only natural methods if you ask me.
The thing is, stop skirting the issue. Stop pelting us with condoms and pills, Mr. Congressmen, and instead act on this vicious, vicious cycle that has become an ever-confusing Mobius strip: Poverty and ignorance are the real causes of 'overpopulation'. Give people better things to do, provide them with the basic services, and chances are, they'd work on something other than their sex life.
How about making every centavo of pork barrel properly accounted for, for starters?
Saturday, July 31, 2004
Posted by R.O. at 8:37 AM
Friday, July 30, 2004
Whenever I withdraw cash from ATMs of banks other than 'my' bank, I get charged with P11 for the balance inquiry (a routine you have to make allegedly to avoid having your card being chomped off) and the withdrawal. That's fine by me, although I find the fee quite exorbitant. What I cannot take is when I withdraw on paydays and these machines wouldn't deliver. If you techies are so smart, then why this glitch, or am I barking up the wrong tree?
I implore DTI and PNP to go after these stores selling fake LPG tanks. These tanks now cost more than P300 but contain only half the gas. I don't have the habit of cursing my enemies but this time around, I find it so hard not to.
ATM. LPG. I'm beginning to detest these acronyms.
Posted by R.O. at 3:13 PM
Now this is historic.
Can't imagine being quoted about my haircut.
Bloggers Type It Like It Is in Boston
Thu Jul 29,11:01 AM ET
By Cynthia L. Webb, washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Bloggers are keeping journalists' tongues wagging and fingers hunting and pecking three days after the Democratic National Convention kicked off, the latest sign that Boston's colossal confab is long on hot air and short on real news.
And like lab animals, bloggers are being poked and prodded every which way by the "mainstream" media, even as it throws its own correspondents -- from the Associated Press to the Los Angeles Times -- on the web log heap.
Seeing the Forest blogger Dave Johnson gave a nod yesterday to how pervasive the blogger watching game on the convention floor has become: "Now the people sitting here who AREN'T bloggers are being interviewed by the press ... One guy is a blogger who snuck into the area."
The Associated Press concluded in a recent piece that while the convention rolled out the welcome mat to bloggers in a historic first, it is still trying to figure out how to treat them. (GOPers don't fret, Republicans are doling out press credentials to bloggers for their convention and expect more since blogging for the Democrats' Boston party has become a hot commodity).
"In many respects, the arrival of independent Web journalists at the Democratic National Convention in Boston was largely about hype. One of the 'bloggers' had even compared his presence to the introduction of television to politics more than a half-century ago. But it quickly became clear that bloggers were still trying to figure out their role," the AP's Anick Jesdanun wrote. "It seems as if bloggers were awed by the whole idea of being among the first of their kind at a national party convention -- and had to call attention to that fact. Reading the early postings, I found more about bloggers than about the delegates, speakers or protesters. One posted a photo of the media pass, while several showed their 'Bloggers Boulevard' workspace. A few discussed the identity of a fellow blogger who had been anonymous until then."
Posted by R.O. at 8:11 AM
A friend has been a Travel Agent for 30 Years. She says, in her 30 years of taking reservation requests from government officials, the following shows we are all in deep s**t/ trouble.
Here's a few choice reservation questions from these people [actors and/or politicians - seems in the Philippines, it's hard to tell the difference]:
* Senator ____________ asked for an aisle seat (airplane) so that her hair wouldn't get messed up by being near the window.
* I got a call from ex-Mayor ___________, who wanted to go to Capetown. I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information, then he interrupted me with, "I'm not trying to make you look stupid, but Capetown is in Massachusetts." Without trying to make him look like the stupid one, I calmly explained, "Cape Cod is in Massachusetts, Capetown is in Africa." His response... (click).
* Congressman ____________ called, furious about a Florida trip package we put together for him and TV star ___________. I asked what was wrong with the Orlando vacation. He said he was expecting an ocean-view room. I tried to explain that that was not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of the state. He replied, "Don't lie to me. I looked at the map, and Florida is a very thin state!"
* I got a call from Sen _______________'s wife who asked, "Is it possible to see England from Canada?" I said, "No." She said, "But they look so close on the map."
* Senator ____________ once called and asked if he could rent a car in Dallas. When I pulled up the reservation, I noticed he had only a 1-hour layover in Dallas. When I asked him why he wanted to rent a car, he said, "I heard Dallas is a big airport, and we will need a car to drive between the gates to save time."
* Senator ____________ called last week. He wanted to know how is it possible for his flight from Detroit to leave at 8:20 a.m. and arrive in Chicago at 8:33 a.m! I tried to explain that Michigan was an hour ahead of Illinois, but he could not understand the concept of time zones. Finally, I told him this plane flies very fast, and he bought that!
* Congressman ______________ called & asked, "Do airlines put your physical
description on your bag so they know whose luggage belongs to whom?" I said, "No, why do you ask?" He replied, "Well, when I checked in with the airline, they put
a tag on my luggage that said 'FAT' and I'm overweight. I think that is very rude!" After putting him on hold for a minute while I 'looked into it' (I was actually laughing). I came back and explained that the city code for Fresno, CA is 'FAT',
and that the airline was just putting a destination tag on his luggage.
* Former presidentiable __________ called to inquire about a trip package to Hawaii. After going over all the cost info, he asked, "Would it be cheaper to fly to California and then take the train to Hawaii?"
* I just got off the phone with Senator ______________ who asked, "How do
I know which plane to get on?" I asked him what exactly he meant, to which he replied, "I was told my flight number is 823, but none of these darn planes have numbers on them."
* _____________ called and said, "I need to fly to Pepsi-Cola, FL. Do I have to get on one of those twin engine planes?" I asked if he meant fly to Pensacola, FL on a commuter plane. He said, "Yeah, whatever!"
* Congressman _______________ called and had a question about the documents
he needed in order to fly to China. After a lengthy discussion about passports,
I reminded him that he needed a visa. "Oh, no I don't. I've been to China many times and never had to have one of those." I double checked and sure enough, his stay required a visa. When I told him this he said, "Look, I've been to China four times and everytime they have accepted my American Express!"
* Senator _______________ called to make reservations, "I want to go from Chicago to Rhino, New York." The agent was at a loss for words. Finally, the agent
said, "Are you sure that's the name of the town?" "Yes, what flights do you have?"
replied the lady. After some searching, the agent came back with, "I'm sorry, ma'am, I've looked up every airport code in the country and can't find a Rhino anywhere in NY." The lady retorted, "Oh, don't be silly! Everyone knows where it is. Check your map!" The agent scoured a map of the state of New York and finally offered, "You don't mean Buffalo, do you?" "That's it! I knew it was a big animal," she said.
You need to join the Girondist mailing list if you want the identities revealed. In the service of fairness, I thought it's best to expunge identities.
Okay, this is FICTION.
Posted by R.O. at 7:48 AM
Thursday, July 29, 2004
The city is as helpless as a baby when there's a brownout. I mean, I am as helpless as a kid when there's no electricity and it's Sunday. Can't sleep it off; too humid. Can't take a bath; too dark. Can't read away the hours; too uncomfortable. Malling means the temptation to waste money; eating out would be out of the question. Eating at home would mean cooking under a candlelight. Writing would mean doing it in longhand, too clunky an idea. (Feels too much like writing on notes with 'Rx' on it.) Out-talking the people at home might lead to murder.
I am reminded of what Don Bosco said about idleness -- it's the playground of the devil. So, what to do when there's nothing left to do? I think it's perfect to have a nice haircut.
But my favored barbershop in the area refuses me, pointing to the obvious - no lighting, no aircon, no electric razor, not even an electric fan. This is not Bruno's, ha?
So I weave my way through the ramshackle sidewalk 'downtown' - one Bayani Fernando has yet to oppress, Hitler-like - until I find a willing fool like me. Barbershop #2 takes me in, no sweat, citing my easy, straight hair, even as I sweat profusely. The barber swings open wide the glass door, the 12:00 PM sun our only source of illumination. I point to a mugshot of a guy with the trimmed hair on the wall as my mane model and - snip, snip, snip - Expectorant is as muy guapo as he'd never been when the lights are on.
"Sa probinsiya naman, kahit walang kuryente, puwede," says a neighborhood uzisero watching the historic event nearby.
All along, I am nervous that the power outage might spell the difference between a mullet and a Mohawk, or a pompadour and a, what, pageboy? Thank God for barbers because just uttering the words "barber's cut" need no further explanation - unlike when you go to a doctor to be circumcised.
Posted by R.O. at 4:13 PM
Watching movies in Makati has become so unaffordable I want to fight back by boycotting the cinemas altogether. I choose to dust off my trusty player at home instead, and rent, rent, rent videos upon videos at P15 per. I can watch all the movies I have missed anytime I want, who needs cutting-edge resolution and sensurround?
Join me in the boycott. Here's the whole deal: You must be "low on dough" and you must NOT have a sex life.
In the Bedroom was easily my favorite among the bunch I was able to lay my hands on. (Is it getting obvious I like real-life dramas? Now kill me.) A domestic drama that reveals, slow by slow, the ugly, repressed and most-secret conflicts within the family, with the entry of a character outside the family as the catastrophic catalyst. I guess In the Bedroom is all about - hold your thesauri - inner sanctums being violated. Sissy Spacek and Marisa Tomei lead the rest of the cast in being unbelievably believable in their respective roles.
Room with a View I found a bit boring and annoying because I generally dislike symbolic scenes that are, in reality, implausible, if not impossible. Movies about real life should be downright real and this is the reason I got frustrated over Rebel without a Cause, as compared to, say, Saturday Night Fever. I believe works like E. M. Forster's masterpiece about expression and repression are better left read or staged than filmed. A Streetcar Named Desire is chockful of symbolisms, yes, but I don't remember any implausible scene. I will always have a problem with a scene like that of three naked men chasing each other in Room with a View. Why would two or three men who just met for the first time go giddy in split seconds and take a bath together like kids on excursion, and in the buff yet, when they weren't shown to have had a sex EB (eyeball after a round of sex chat)? Even if they were British, that still is crazy. Daniel Day Lewis, though, is so brilliant here just like I expected.
Steven Soderbergh's Full Frontal runs at a sloth's pace, just like sex, lies and videotape, and it feels more artsy indeed than pretentious. This movie is not a movie. I guess that's how I should put it without ruining the suspense to this day-in-the-life slice-of-crazy-life in Hollywood. Brad Pitt stars as himself here and David Duchovny doesn't get to act at all, save for one vital appendage. You review this kind of movie by not reviewing it.
Don't get shocked by my choices here for I included in the lineup Peter Weir's Gallipoli, an Australian staple in the art-house circuit. It's largely an antiwar propaganda movie which traces the beginnings of the "ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) tradition" and almost feels like a documentary of the defeat of the Australian contingent at the Egyptian border during World War I. The event is said to be Australia's version of what Alamo is to America. Starring Mel Gibson and Mark Lee when they still looked virginal, this movie is said to be anti-Hollywood in all respects, and I can only agree - a war film with some amount of brain. It's also a story of male friendship at a time when brotherhood bondings were not yet suspected of anything. It's also about the supposed stupidity of war, starting from the draftees' silly reasons for enlisting, to the tragic waste of the beauty and promise of youth.
I also saw Big Fish, a surreal movie about fathers and the tall tales they tell about themselves esp. as told to their sons. Save for the distracting mix of Scottish, British and American accents, this is a thoroughly enjoyable, surprise-filled, modern-day Wizard of Oz, which, however, takes a little more minutes longer in the end than is necessary. I couldn't complain much more than that, though, and I tend to complain a lot. Wait, I didn't get why it's Big Fish.
Meirelles' Cidade de Deus (City of God) is one slam-bang film that takes too much liberty with the presentation of a story but never, never, irritates. It only annoys like a gadfly in so far as cold facts and harsh realities annoy, if not depress. It's like reading James Hamilton-Patterson's Ghosts of Manila and watching a Lino Brocka social commentary. City of God, however, takes Lino Brocka's Third Word "neorealism" a step further. At the end of the film, when one's energy is just about exhausted from all that violence (isn't a life of violence tiring?), one finally agrees with this movie's vision -- this is about gangster life as seen from a news photographer's zoom lens. Life's extreme ugliness told beautifully, stylishly.
Now hold on to your galoshes, coz this one is jaw-dropping: I capped my personal filmfest lineup by making an hommage to the local film industry. I watched Milan.
Now if I haven't yet reached this level of pomposity in my life as a so-called cineaste, maybe I would've said Milan is excellent. Unfortunately for this local effort, I have watched far too many foreign art films. I was disappointed with the way the director succumbed to commercial temptations in handling the sex scene (awkward, awful) and dramatic moments (a tad too melodramatic). But I can forgive Milan for these twin mortal trespasses because it tells something new -- the depravities migrant workers go through behind the backdrop of tourist-trappy Italy's grandeur and the main characters' unseemly gorgeousness - and it tells this facet of Filipino life in the context of an atypical, passably conceivable love story, interspersed with documentary-like shots that made sense.
I've watched three more movies but these don't deserve mention.
Posted by R.O. at 11:57 AM
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
From a forwarded email. (Thanks XXX.) I am not responsible for any inaccuracies. (My reactions in parentheses.)
Did you know that...
1. The garden of Eden was in Iraq. (Putative Garden of Eden, yes, I do.)
2. Mesopotamia, which is now Iraq, was the cradle of civilization! (Yes, quotations, pls, for cradle of civilization.)
3. Noah built the ark in Iraq. (?)
4. The Tower of Babel was in Iraq. (Talaga? Parang I've read about this before.)
5. Abraham was from Ur, which is in Southern Iraq! (I know.)
6. Isaac's wife Rebekah is from Nahor, which is in Iraq. (Not surprising.)
7. Jacob met Rachel in Iraq. (Ay, tsismis.)
8. Jonah preached in Nineveh - which is in Iraq. (I've read that in The Smithsonian.)
9. Assyria, which is in Iraq, conquered the ten tribes of Israel. (Uh-huh.)
10. Amos cried out in Iraq! (Really?)
11. Babylon, which is in Iraq, destroyed Jerusalem. (Ok.)
12. Daniel was in the lion's den in Iraq! (Really?)
13. The three Hebrew children were in the fire in
Iraq (Jesus had been in Iraq also as the fourth person in the fiery furnace!) (I didn't realize that.)
14. Belshazzar, the King of Babylon saw the "writing on the wall" in Iraq.
15. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, carried the Jews captive into Iraq.
16. Ezekiel preached in Iraq.
17. The wise men were from Iraq. (Huh?!?)
18. Peter preached in Iraq.
19. The "Empire of Man" described in Revelation is called Babylon, which was a city in Iraq! And you have probably seen this one. Israel is the nation most often mentioned in the Bible. But do you know which nation is second?
It is Iraq!
However, that is not the name that is used in the Bible. The names used in the Bible are Babylon, Land of Shinar, and Mesopotamia.
The word Mesopotamia means between the two rivers, more exactly between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The name Iraq, means country with deep roots.
Indeed Iraq is a country with deep roots and is a very significant country in the Bible. Here's why!
*Eden was in Iraq - Genesis 2:10-14
*Adam & Eve were created in Iraq - Genesis 2:7-8
*Satan made his first recorded appearance in Iraq - Genesis 3:1-6
*Nimrod established Babylon & The Tower of Babel was built in Iraq - Genesis 10:8-97; 11:1-4
* The confusion of the languages took place in Iraq - Genesis 11:5-11
* Abraham came from a city in Iraq - Genesis 11:31; Acts 7:2-4
* Isaac's bride came from Iraq - Genesis 24:3-4; 10
* Jacob spent 20 years in Iraq - Genesis 27:42-45; 31:38
* The first world Empire was in Iraq - Daniel 1:1-2;2:36-38
* The greatest revival in history was in a city in Iraq - Jonah 3
* The events of the book of Esther took place in Iraq - Esther
* The book of Nahum was a prophecy against a city in Iraq - Nahum
* The book or Revelation has prophecies against Babylon (Iraq's former name). Revelation 17 & 18 No other nation, except Israel, has more
history and prophecy associated with it than Iraq. And also...
(This part is proven to be a hoax.)
This is something to think about! Since America is typically represented by an eagle. Saddam should have read up on his Muslim passages... The following verse is from the Quran, (the Islamic Bible)
Quran (9:11) - For it is written that a son of Arabia would awaken a fearsome Eagle. The wrath of the Eagle would be felt throughout the lands of Allah and lo, while some of the people trembled in despair still more rejoiced; for the wrath of the Eagle cleansed the lands of Allah; and there was peace. (Note the verse number!)
Posted by R.O. at 4:11 PM
Connie has a wonderful mouthful on this and I vehemently agree. Whatever happened to Honor your father and your mother, you say? Well, help your parents when they need help; that's what the commandment is supposed to mean.
Posted by R.O. at 7:55 AM
Monday, July 26, 2004
Posted by R.O. at 8:14 AM
Saturday, July 24, 2004
Get to know Maningning Miclat and get acquainted with her art (painting and poetry) in a website dedicated to her, www.maningning.com.
Posted by R.O. at 4:25 PM
There were no terrorists. There wasn't an earthquake. It wasn't an antiquated building either. But there it lay, crashing to the ground like a dusty stack of Legos.
The Sai Building on Padre Rada St., Tondo, Manila, was reportedly just five years old. It could be due to a faulty foundation, bad engineering, or, well... do we smell graft and corruption?
Something like this happened before, I think, in Singapore. The good news is, there were no casualties in Manila. Occupants and bystanders and local authorities had the luck and the wisdom to vacate the danged place before it turned all of them into pancakes.
This horror brings to mind my personal experience during the July 16, 1989? earthquake where I saw buildings here and there tilting at precarious configurations. I remember the seven-story Skyland Building in Session Rd. tilting like that for the longest time.
What's striking about the Baguio temblor is, all those that were toppled and leveled were new structures! The antiques - Baguio City Hall, the Baguio Cathedral, the Puso ng Baguio Bldg, even the more recent Saint Louis University buildings and the gargantuan Baguio Convention Center - all these remained intact, escaping the word 'condemned'. While Hyatt Hotel, the hotels near Amapola Cafe, and the other hotels and motels around the City of Pines lost their first and second floors; Hyatt lost everything by falling in a spectacular manner - "like a stack of cards." Only an old, abandoned, decrepit hotel at the back of the public market was heard crashing under its own weight, and only because there were the chronic aftershocks.
On my way home, as I evacuated, I remember passing by Dagupan City, too, a city built from swamplands, like Makati, where an entire street had buildings that tilted like leaning towers of pizza. Again, nothing ever crashed like the one in Divisoria.
Posted by R.O. at 8:39 AM
Friday, July 23, 2004
(pic stolen somewhere)
Attention media confreres:
I'm glad local politicos like Manila mayor Lito Atienza are finally warming up to the wisdom of preserving architectural heritage and cultural heritage in general. Thankfully they are beginning to realize that things like these are not a matter of frivolity; they can even bring in lots of money! Ah, money! Everybody indeed listens when thouest, damned thing, doth talk. Oops, have I just uttered a cuss word? Don't follow my example, kids, I just wanna drive home a point in a very artistic way, 'coz if you sound like a textbook, nobody will read you.
Anyway, two other angles I want to see the Philippines being depicted and promoted along these lines are:
(1) The Philippines as a birder's paradise
Does our government realize that not all countries are blessed with such diverse forms of birds as ours? That foreign ornithologists and birding enthusiasts would come in droves if only we preserved certain species habitats and made these tourist-friendly? Those allegedly poor people who overpopulate reserves or poach on land declared as preserves -- they can be turned into major stakeholders by making them earn - I repeat, earn, from ecotourism. Ecotourism is the way to go, people.
(2) The Philippines as habitat of dwarfs and giants
This is not unique to us, of course. Seychelles has its giant tortoises. Indonesia its Komodo dragons, and so on. But this phenomenon can be given a unique spin. Hee's how:
If you haven't noticed it yet, the islands harbor the ff. oddities:
smallest fishes (Pandaka, Mistichthys) (Is this already extinct? MLQ3 (of Ayala Museum) says so.)
smallest ungulate (hoofed mammal)
giant flower (Rafflesia)
What explains this island phenomenon? I choose Stephen Hawking's answer when he was asked yesterday what he planned to do next after changing his mind about black holes: "I don't know." Maybe this site could help sort things out.
I'm too lazy to do the research for a long article, perhaps somebody out there is willing?
Posted by R.O. at 4:19 PM
Wala nang laman ang balita for the past few days kundi Angelo Angelo Angelo. Sabi tuloy ni M. sakin,
"Oy, pumunta ka na sa Iraq at magpakidnap ka! Magkakaron ka ng libreng bahay at lupa, mapaaral mo pa lahat ng kamag-anak mo!"
Posted by R.O. at 1:42 PM
Thursday, July 22, 2004
Shell Select gas stations are one of the underrated corners of this city and so, it's but natural for me to frequent their branches. I like helping people but I hate exercising my social skills, you know. Contradictory, yes, but there's a nice scapegoat to that, enough to become, what, a passable paradox.
If I want to feel like post-Miu Miu et Prada Tim-Yap-Pepper-Teehankee chi-chi (tenks, Spin!), I go to the Select station in the corner of Ayala and Dasma. I don't mind the hidden pollution as long as there's an AC. It's a gasoline station, so what do I expect?
I head off to Hen Lin, the exclusive concessionaire/fastfood establishment, and buy my exalted company some pseudo-Chinese comfort food. Have you tried this Cantonese cuisine in town, Kwang Tong? Of course, you won't find that kind of high-end chow here at Hen-Lin, but Hen-Lin is not bad at all.
From time to time, the well-heeled of Dasma do drop by, and thanks to them, I have further mastered the art of dedma (dead malice?). Well, not unless they wear things too weird for our kind of weather, like, von Dutch caps, for which I have no choice but to pause and take notice.
Adjacent to Hen Lin is the grocer. I find enormous joy browsing through the limited offering at this glorified, spic-'n-span sari-sari store. There's no crowd to contend with, no to-see-and-be-seen constraints, perfect for antisocials like yours truly.
Why can't our friendly neighborhood sari-sari stores develop into full-blown little Landmarks? Maybe that's the point. Remain small. Small is beautiful, or so the economist E.F. Schumacher believed. Small economies are charming, yes, but the problem with smallness, I have finally realized, is the inherent danger of stasis -- arrested development, in short, of the community dependent on that kind of economy.
Between an amount of environmental degradation with its attendant aggravations and the alternative of stunted development of human civilization, I think we can only come up with a Hobson's choice. Either we move our collective butts and embrace so-called progress or remain perpetually Third World and backwater. As backwater, we are destined not to hear such golden job opportunities as chiropractors, apartment movers and porn addiction counselors, or businesses such as pet spa, lawn mower shops and African safari package tours. In this regard, simplicity is not beauty. Here we may find a "reworking" of an Ignatian "ejaculation" -- "I said give me the simple life, but I didn't mean this!"
One day I was browsing like a deer with no dreams for the future when a friend texted me she needed some grape juice for some anceint Semitic ritual. As expected, this store had only grape soda. Finding something specific and necessary here is a matter of tough luck. You don't go to this place for your Sunday shopping, after all.
But this place is nonetheless capable of giving a surprise. I've run into things like attractively packaged Thai versions of chichirias - peanuts, tamarind, squid, etc. and other nonessentials like Holland waffles. (I love sweets even if I sound like I have a dour demeanor. I love eating chichiria especially when I don't have to share it.) Just for killing the time here waiting for friends who never come on time, I've tried almost everything especially at Hen Lin: cua pao, beef brisket, siomai, hototay, lechon Macau, barbecue, pancit molo soup… This place makes the interminable a little more bearable, with not a soul messing up with me.
Posted by R.O. at 2:58 PM
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
I made you feel bad. Now this will make you laugh. (Thanks, O.)
1. Can you cry under water?
2. When I was young we used to go "skinny dipping," now I just "chunkydunking."
3. How important does a person have to be before they are considered assassinated instead of just murdered?
4. If money doesn't grow on trees then why do banks have branches?
5. Since bread is square, then why is sandwich meat round?
6. Why do you have to "put your two cents in"...but it's only a "penny" for your thoughts"? Where's that extra penny going to? Taxes?
7. Once you're in heaven, do you get stuck wearing the clothes you were buried in for eternity?
8. Why does a round pizza come in a square box?
9. How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?
10. Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up like every two hours?
11. If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing?
12. If you drink Pepsi at work in the Coke factory, will they fire you?
13. Why are you IN a movie, but you are ON TV?
14. Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?
15. How come we choose from just two people for President and fifty for Miss America?
16. Why do doctors leave the room while you change? They're going to see you naked anyway.
17. 911 operator has a heart attack, whom does he/she call?
18. I signed up for an exercise class and was told to wear loose-fitting clothing. If I HAD any loose-fitting clothing, I wouldn't have signed up in the first place!
19. Wouldn't it be nice if whenever we messed up our life we could simply press 'Ctrl Alt Delete' and start all over?
20. Stress is when you wake up screaming and then you realize you haven't fallen asleep yet.
21. My husband says I never listen to him. At least I think that's what he said.
22. Just remember...if the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.
23. Why is it that our children can't read a Bible in school, but they can in prison?
24. If raising children was going to be easy, it never would have started with something called labor!
25. Brain cells come and brain cells go, but fat cells live forever.
Posted by R.O. at 5:01 PM
Your irregular dose of theology at PARADOXICAL.
Posted by R.O. at 10:07 AM
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
This story, lovingly dedicated to all misogynists, should win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature as well as the Nobel Peace Prize. (Thanks, O.)
Recently a "Husband Super Store" opened where women could go to choose a husband from among many men. It was laid out in five floors, with the men increasing in positive attributes as you ascended.
The only rule was, once you opened the door to any floor, you HAD to choose a man from that floor; if you went up a floor, you couldn't go back down except to leave the place, never to return.
A couple of girlfriends went to the shopping centre to find some husbands...
First floor. The door had a sign saying, "These men have jobs and love kids." The women read the sign and said, "Well, that's better than not having a job or not loving kids, but I wonder what's further up?"
So up they went. Second floor. The sign read, "These men have high paying jobs, love kids, and are extremely good looking." "Hmmm," said the ladies, "But, I wonder what's further up?"
Third floor. This sign read, "These men have high paying jobs, are extremely good looking, love kids and help with the housework."
"Wow," said the women, "Very tempting." But there was another floor, so further up they went.
Fourth floor. This door had a sign saying "These men have high paying jobs, love kids, are extremely good looking, help with the housework and have a strong romantic streak."
"Oh, mercy me," they cried, "Just think what must be awaiting us further on! So up to the fifth floor they went.
Fifth floor. The sign on that door said, "This floor is empty and exists only to prove that women are impossible to please. The exit is to your left, we hope you fall down the stairs."
Posted by R.O. at 3:38 PM
Two of my favorite dead folks who happened to be white.
Jheronimus Bosch (Dutch surrealist painter before surrealism was discovered). You need a big PC screen for this one.
(Taken from boschuniverse.org. Visit it, visit it!)
Antoni Gaudi (Catalan architect whom I suspect to have designed from his dreams)
(Acknowledgments: Senator Illustria of Saragossa, Hispania.)
Posted by R.O. at 11:01 AM
This is from Knowledge News. (Many thanks, E.)
Love him or hate him, former U.S. President Bill Clinton still stirs strong feelings--so strong that his new memoir, My Life, may be the year's biggest bestseller. Advance orders have already topped 2 million.
Makes us wonder which political leader has produced the absolute biggest bestseller of all time. Answer: England's King James I. Of course, James didn't write a tell-all memoir. He commissioned a new translation of the Bible.
One Bible to Rule Them All
When James I came to power in 1603, religion was England's hottest issue--and James was supposedly so afraid of assassins said to be sent by his religious enemies that he hid behind walls of mattresses.
Just 70 years earlier, in 1534, Henry VIII had taken the country Protestant after disputing with the Pope over his right to divorce his wife. Twenty years later, Queen Mary tried to reclaim the country for Catholicism--so violently at times that Protestants called her "Bloody Mary." The country reverted back to Protestantism under Mary's half-sister, Queen Elizabeth, but religious strife simmered on.
My Word of God Against Yours
There was plenty of dispute even among English Protestants, who ranged from careful conservatives to true radicals. James basically recognized two types of decent, God-fearing folk: members of the established Church of England and moderate Puritans. Each of these groups had its own version of the Good Book. The Church of England's official text was the "Bishops' Bible," a rather sloppy translation that Puritans rejected as "too Catholic."
Puritans generally favored the Geneva Bible, a translation produced in Switzerland by scholarly Protestant refugees during "Bloody" Mary's reign. Unfortunately for them, the Geneva Bible was rich with anti-royalist explanatory notes that gave it a seditious flavor. Still, the translation and the prose were so good that even the Archbishop of Canterbury was rumored to use it in private.
God Is in the Details
When James agreed to host a conference on church reformation, his bishops were dubious. The Puritans wanted to banish lingering vestiges of Catholicism, from silk vestments to altar rails--perhaps even the church hierarchy itself. Of course, James's bishops weren't keen on giving up their jobs. They argued that James should see a parallel between church and state authority. If a bishop's power could be challenged, why not a king's?
At the conference in 1604, James shot down Puritan requests one by one. Finally, a disappointed Puritan asked if the king would at least consider a new English Bible. Great idea, said James, but you have to translate by my rules.
Ultimately, James came up with 16 guidelines meant to keep the final text from questioning royal or ecclesiastical authority. Though scholars were free to use the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic scripts, certain translations were off-limits. For example, the words "church" and "priest" were not to be replaced with the seditious-sounding, Puritan-preferred terms "congregation" and "elder."
James created six "companies," or revision committees, at Westminster, Cambridge University, and Oxford University. The committees worked at meticulous translation for nearly seven years. A subcommittee from each of the three groups met together to revise the translation. In 1611, the new revision went to press.
A Divine Legacy
Many consider the King James Version a triumph of scholarship and English prose style. But it wasn't an overnight bestseller. Most Puritans stuck with the Geneva Bible until James's son Charles I forbade the printing or importing of that "seditious" translation. By the mid-1600s, the King James Version could be found in most parishes across England. It even came to be called "the Authorized Version," though it was never officially authorized.
Even the King James Bible couldn't mend a nation. In 1649, Puritan revolutionaries under Oliver Cromwell overthrew and beheaded James's son, Charles I. But James's divine text prospered, particularly in the American colonies. To this day, the King James Bible is the most widely sold English Bible in North America. That's almost 400 years of bestseller status.
June 22, 2004
Want to learn more?
See what the 1611 King James Bible actually looked like
Posted by R.O. at 9:29 AM
Saturday, July 17, 2004
Just when nobody's looking bec. all people are all eyes on Iraq's unruly cuthroats (be thankful I refrained from using "ragheads"), Brazilian vollebelle sensation Leila Barros comes to town to play again at the Ultra (now Philsports). I saw her team on TV, hurling balls like Spanish invectives, the title-holder Dominican Republic her team's unfortuante enemy. Leila is a little less prettier than before but still beautiful. That was a game when all the men didn't care about the official scores.
Our boys in Taiwan
I switched channels to get an amazing glimpse of Alex Pagulayan, who played billiards in Taiwan with nary a hitch, forcing the Taiwanese audience to an uproarious applause. Okay, he's Canadian but so what? He looks more Filipino to me. Efren Bata Reyes and Django Bustamante aside, Pagulayan singlehandedly stole this show for the multitude of Filipino factory-workers in that island.
Posted by R.O. at 10:09 AM
A Tribute to Boredom (pencil sketch by Frida Kahlo)
Okay, this is an accurate depiction.
Posted by R.O. at 8:10 AM
If you find Norman Solomon too glib and his creation Dilbert too evil, or Bob Rosner too formulaic (I still like his witty analogies, though), perhaps now's the time to move on. Say hi to Jared Sandberg, a journalist who found his true calling in the cubicle, you could say.
(Acknowledgment: VG of Girondist)
Posted by R.O. at 7:38 AM
Thursday, July 15, 2004
And now for something totally frivolous…
Couldn't help passing a little note about this other war: The Green Archers vs Blue Eagles war, where La Salle loses to Ateneo in the UAAP, after a longish taste of intercollegiate victory.
Come to think of it, I am surrounded by a smattering of Ateneans and La Sallites, so the issue is unavoidable. In fact, I will be at the Ateneo this Sunday for the ALNP anniversary. The puzzling thing is my friends and I (different alma maters) are being asked to wear something green for some symbolic reason. This means we are being asked to be La Sallites right smack in enemy grounds!
If I won't be too tired this Sunday, I think I'll be going to Ateneo wearing maroon in defiance to both camps.
I just discovered something scientific over the weekend: I can only watch four good films in a row. At home ha. By the fifth, I turn into a zombie. Hope to put this finding into good use for the Cinemanila. Imelda relented finally, citing freedom of expression. I hope to catch Babae sa Breakwater and Magnifico, too, just so I can say I am balanced and virtuous. And Lav Diaz's interminable Batang Westside story, too.
Posted by R.O. at 12:03 PM
I've never gotten around to walking his walk yet, but I think Carlos Celdran is one of many unsung but really cool guys in town.
Take notes of the new starting times - 2:30PM!
And the new Meeting Points!
Cheers and I look forward to walking around with you soon.
New Experimental Tours for July - Sept. No pressure. Just walk.
MRT ADVENTURE TO CUBAO!
Rediscover Cubao! Let's take a Sunday cruise on the MRT and together
we'll rediscover the wonders of Cubao. Lets check out the Araneta Coliseum
(venue of Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier's 1976 Thrilla in Manila), and the
Farmer's Market, before cruising down further to the botanical bonanza that is
the Manila Seedling Bank. A truly wonderful way to acquaint oneself with
Metro Manila's train system and aimlessly wander about on a Sunday afternoon.
Meet at the Northbound Platform of the AYALA MRT station at 2:30PM.
August 22 - Sunday
Sept 19 - Sunday
ALL THE WAY DOWN TO CHINATOWN!
Rediscover Binondo! Let's take a Saturday afternoon stroll and together we'll rediscover the charms of Chinatown. Lets check out Plaza Carlos, Ongpin Street, Binondo Church, and the Manila Buddhist Shrine among others as we wander in and
out of the buildings and alleyways of one of Manila's oldest districts. Meet at
the corner of Ongpin Street and Binondo Church (by the Lorenzo Ruiz statue and
Eng Bee Tin Hopia factory) at 2:30PM.
Aug 28 - Saturday
Sept 25 - Saturday
THE REGULAR TOURS:
THE NORTH BANK
A Shopping Tour of Downtown Manila
Rizal Avenue and the Escolta was Manila's premier shopping district until
the 1970's when the rise of Makati Commercial Center and the construction of
the LRT somewhat diminished this distinction. Now part of Manila Mayor
Atienza's Urban Renewal Program, the area has been cleaned up and
rehabilitated as a pedestrian promenade. Most of its mid-20th century
historic charm remains and its still the cheapest place in Manila to
buy shoes, hardware, appliances, clothes, sex gadgets, jewelery, pearls,
beauty queen tiaras, voodoo potions, flowers, handicrafts, videos, and
This tour of Manila's more fascinating shops will also be coupled
with a side tour of Quiapo Church, the Bahay Nakpil Bautista, the Handicraft
Center under the Quezon Bridge, and the Quiapo Mosque. Its a walking tour
heavy on the walking part. Dress lightly and wear practical shoes. Meet in
front of the Calvo Building (Wah Yuen Restaurant) on Escolta at 2:30PM
July 24 - Saturday
August 14 - Saturday
September 11 - Saturday
IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK!
Walking Tour of Historic Intramuros
On its third year, its the most popular tour in the selection and a
definite must for beginners in Philippine History. Take a leisurely afternoon
walk along the 400 year old walls and take in a humorous analysis of
Philippine art, culture, and society during the Spanish period. Ironically
irreverent yet informative.
Meet in front of Manila Cathedral at 2:30 PM
Please prepare entrance fees to the Casa Manila Museum.
Php 40.00 for adults
Php 15.00 for students.
July 25 - Sunday
August 15 - Sunday
September 12 - Sunday
Walking Tour of the Historic Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex
Its a tour all about the Philippines in the 1970’s and the tumultous era of Martial Law, 18 inch bell-bottoms, and Miss Universe. Its a little bit disco, a little bit New Society, and completely Imeldific. So come take a trippy trip through National Artist for Architecture Leandro Locsin's finest buildings as we analyze one of the most exciting periods in Philippine history.
Meet at the at the Figaro Coffee Shop beside the CCP at 2:30PM.
Please prepare entrance fee to the PICC and Coconut Palace.
Php30.00 - PICC
Php100.00 - Coconut Palace
August 21 - Saturday
September 18 - Saturday
REGULAR TOUR RATE SHEET
Php350.00 for adults
Php100.00 for students
Public school students and government employees go free.
PRIVATE TOUR RATES:
For a group of five or less Php2500.00 (Php500.00 each person)
Five to ten people (Php400.00 each person)
Ten to fifteen people (Php350.00 each person)
Fifteen to twenty People (Php300.00 each person)
Twenty and above (Php250.00 each person)
For all reservations, directions, or inquiries:
Text: 0 926 2597506 to reserve
Posted by R.O. at 7:25 AM
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
The ff. is brought to you by the Bloghopper:
The Wily Filipino excoriates Borgy Manotoc's popularity (Tatang's Karinderia tells WF to relax, saying it's just a proof of Philippine democracy. Read the thoughtful comment in reaction to this.)
The Psychicpants has a winning parody of romance novels in Times New Romance, a love story revolving on... fonts.
Ian Casocot's blog is not for lazy readers, but here's a little quote full of 'wisdom for the bored.' (I'm not sure if I stole that phrase.)
Oh, no, here's a breaking news story: The irrepressibly unprintable Dean Jorge Bocobo proclaims he's now Ashamed to be Philippine Commentary, and announces a sensational "hearsay" (his word).
Meanwhile, stop laughing (or crying) and continue praying for Angelo dela Cruz.
Posted by R.O. at 1:03 PM
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Definition of terms:
Offensive telemarketers are those who call us in the office daily, tormenting us about credit card applications when they've just contacted us yesterday and we have already refused the plantastic offer (fantastic plan).
Trust M., the terror of telemarketers, to deliver the ultimate manual:
If a familiar telemarketer's voice is detected at the tone, turn on your best acting mode.
1. YES?!?! Ano'ng good sa morning?!?! (annoyed tone) Mmmmm! (impatient, dismissive tone which means "I heard that already, yakity-yuck!")
2. YES? Sorry, may card na kaming lahat dito! Bye! (click)(irate tone)
3. YES? Talaga? Beverly ba talaga pangalan mo? (teasing tone)
4. YES? Eh andami ko nang cards eh. (super-yabang tone) Lahat meron na 'ko. Ba't mo ba 'ko ginugulo? Siguro di ka pa quota 'no? (joshing tone)
1. Hello! What can I do for you which you cannot do for me??! (to be uttered faster than a speeding bullet)
1. YEEEEES?!?!? (imitates the tone of that boy in Colgate commercial: "Save the world from cavities? With shElls?") HWAAAAT?! (shouts)
(C. often adds "B_tch!!" as crisp parting shot. Not recommended.)
Posted by R.O. at 11:04 AM
'Yan ang tawag sa maling balita tungkol kay Angelo dela Cruz (Angel of the Cross?).
Siyempre, pag may malita, may mews mlackout. (news blackout mula sa Malacañang kinaumagahan, mwehehe.)
Posted by R.O. at 7:07 AM
Monday, July 12, 2004
Physiology: "Metabolic equilibrium actively maintained by several complex biological mechanisms that operate via the autonomic nervous system to offset disrupting changes"
Ecology: "balanced state of nature"
The talented Mr. F. has a proposal. "Communism failed," he says "because it failed to understand human nature."
"It is human nature to have bottomless want." (Or insatiable greed.) "And it is human nature to be envious, for want of a better term." So to avoid envy (in the light of the constant conflict between business and labor, F. says we must legislate not so much the equalization of salary as the blunting of the terrible disparity between the fabulous compensations given to executives and the pittance of a pay the lowest laborer takes home.
Mr. F. points out - and rightly so, that be it ever be so humble, the lowest laborer's work counts in the production process. The whole cannot function properly without the contribution of the least. (This is only a practical truth: There's work stoppage when janitors or "maintenance and utilities" guys stop working. I argue that this is not about envy, only about justice.)
VG likewise argues, "But this will kill the spirit of entrepreneurship!" Besides, it's also human nature to want to feel superior, or at least to want to feel fulfilled. We can't legislate something like generosity; maybe we can legislate against human nature?
"All I'm saying is," an irritated Mr. F. continues, "we must find a way to discourage such disparity."
Who won't say amen to that? Certainly not Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto, who in his classic treatise proposes to grant some kind of property ownership rights to squatters so they can use the land they're living on as a form of collateral. I'm not sure whether this is good esp. if squatters start to claim somebody else's land when he's just as small a fish as they are. But here's hoping an ecological balance results.
Homeostasis. Jargon du jour.
Posted by R.O. at 5:24 PM
I like stirring up the hornet's nest when I find it necessary but you can be sure it is done in good intention.
The thread was on writing workshops, and of course, I have a regurgitated opinion ready (as always, like a boy scout). I might have come off as flaming the PinoyWriters egroup but I'm not. (Sorry G., I was actually reacting to a text message on the subject.)
"The beauty of it all (I mean, the study of writing) is, what works for
someone may not work for another. It's the WWW Law - "Whatever works works." Don't be 'deceived' by 'experts,' hehe. Even they don't possess the Holy Grail of writing! (wink) They themselves will tell that to
you - if you corner them at gunpoint.
I am not saying workshops are useless and bad. All I'm saying is, no one - not even the best - can teach writing, esp. writing well. The best teacher of writing is reading the best materials and discerning what made these works work.
What I'm saying is, workshops even just with your peers, even just with non-writers, even just with potential readers, will prove as valuable as that with so-called experts precisely bec. it's THE READER who will judge whether your work deserves to be read, not THE CRITIC or the fellow writer.
It's been said so many times before. What's the use of a work if it is not read by the teeming masses? The point of writing, esp. writing for a living, is to be read by a lot of people, and who better to judge what you have but the potential reader? If workshops can determine where you fail and where you are effective WITH YOUR POTENTIAL READERS, then workshops have served their purpose.
I use the word beautiful because writing is a mysterious process. Any band of scribes and scribe-lovers has the right to explore that mystery. Not even the best can say "Eureka! I've found the Holy Grail!"
Meanwhile, Dr. M. embarrassed me the other day by saying I am now popular.
Question: How could anyone who says the things I say ever become popular? Down with popular! I prefer cash. You can email me for my bank account number.
Incidentally Dr. M. also asked whether I'm leftist or rightist, conservative or liberal.
I was kinda confused myself, but only because someone is trying to put me inside a box. My reply, half-irked, half-amused: "'Leftist-rightist' is so passe, so maybe I'm kind of centrist. Whichever offends me at the moment -- therein lies my politics. In short, no political agenda. No such thing as liberal or conservative, either. Only truth matters."
Posted by R.O. at 5:02 PM
(Warning: Don't read if you are squeamish or biting into a medium-rare steak.)
Last week my brother brought home this pirated documentary video he borrowed from sleazy sources. Titled Savage World, it reminded me of such classic, landmark works as Shocking Asia and Sex in the Animal Kingdom. Dubbed in Chinese with Italian subtitles and some snatches of American English, it sure was ridiculous, but no problem. You could turn the Mute button on and it would still be perfectly comprehensible. Indeed, Savage World speaks to your inner beast there's no need to annotate.
What I've seen are images I am sure would be imprinted in my mind until the day I die. Let's skip the animal footages because these are too common in National Geographic and Animal Planet. Here are those I can recover from the shock and awe, the trauma, the horror of it all. (I warned you.)
An Indian man, most likely, in ritual slicing-off of his tongue.
A woman imbibing the liquid dripping from the corpse of a dear departed, perhaps as part of a mummification custom.
Young men and women decorating their bare genitals with slices of fish meat that glowed in the dark. They play hide-and-seek at night in the woods, each boy catching the girl he respectively fancies, and then each pair most probably copulating happily ever after.
Cannibals - dirty, stark-naked, most likely of the Amazon rainforest - stripping a Caucasian man in safari wear, playing with his privates, beating him to death, and treating him as a piece of dead meat.
Hundreds of butt-naked Hindu Indians on parade, trooping to the Ganges River to bathe for their sins, leaving in their wake the bodies of those who drowned.
Hundreds of corpses after an earthquake disaster in Guatemala being dumped en masse into an open pit. (Reminds me of that searing Ormoc image of corpses being bulldozed to their final resting place.)
Bush people hunting together and fighting over the spoils like kids, the prey ending up double-dead as a result. Or the hunters themselves ending up as meat for dinner.
A black woman being gang-raped with consent, a passel of expectant men waiting behind her upturned derriere, their gargantuan and dark manhood raising to the occasion.
A Negroid man palming off feces straight from a cow's anus and conveying the delicacy to his mouth. What a way to clean up one's pet's cloaca!
A man inserting his entire arm into a cow's rectum to retrieve a drug vial. (Tame one!)
The so-called modern world is not spared:
Couples in anger management therapy tearing at each other, breaking everything in their path, then, puzzlingly, ending up having sex under the facilitators' very noses.
The unspeakable things porn stars and porn directors do to make their brand of art film.
Through it all, I waited and waited and only got a disappointing omission. Where is the beheading of innocent people as a form of political leverage?
(For Angelo dela Cruz)
Posted by R.O. at 8:22 AM
Friday, July 09, 2004
I have a great reservation about this. I think an important point has been missed, but this is an enjoyable read.
THE WAY WE LIVE NOW By Jim Holt 6-20-04 NYT Sunday MAGAZINE
Sad people are nice. Angry people are nasty. And, oddly enough, happy people tend to be nasty, too.
Such (allowing for a little journalistic caricature) were the findings reported in last month's issue of Psychological Science. Researchers found that angry people are more likely to make negative evaluations when judging members of other social groups. That, perhaps, will not come as a great surprise. But the same seems to be true of happy people, the researchers noted. The happier your mood, the more liable you are to make bigoted judgments -- like deciding that someone is guilty of a crime simply because he's a member of a minority group. Why? Nobody's sure. One interesting hypothesis, though, is that happy people have an ''everything is fine'' attitude that reduces the motivation for analytical thought. So they fall back on stereotypes -- including malicious ones.
The news that a little evil lurks inside happiness is disquieting. After all, we live in a nation whose founding document holds the pursuit of happiness to be a God-given right. True to that principle, the United States consistently ranks near the top in international surveys of happiness. In a 1994 survey of 41 countries, only the supposedly dour Swedes surpassed us in ''positive affect.'' (Elaborate scales have been invented to measure individual happiness, but researchers admit that difficulties remain; for example, a person is more likely to express satisfaction with his life on a sunny day than on a cloudy one.) Of course, happiness has always had its skeptics. Thinkers like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn have criticized it as a shallow and selfish goal. But the discovery that happiness is linked to prejudice suggests a different kind of case against it. Does happiness, whether desirable or not in itself, lead to undesirable consequences? In other words, could it be bad for you, and for society?
The burgeoning new science of happiness hasn't paid a lot of attention to this question. Its practitioners are more concerned with the causes of happiness than with its effects. Defining happiness as ''well-feeling'' -- being satisfied with life, having episodes of joy -- they have discovered some interesting things: a large part of happiness seems to be genetic; marriage fosters it, but having children doesn't; men become happier with age, women less happy; money does little to boost happiness; religious people are happier, possibly because of the social support they get from church; and so forth.
As to the consequences of being happy, they are widely presumed to be positive. Happiness is held to lengthen life, buffer stress and make people more productive on the job. Some of these notions appear to be justified. A Dutch study in the 1980's, for example, found that a happy 70-year-old man can expect to live 20 months longer than his less happy counterpart. But an earlier American study found that children who are cheerful and optimistic end up having shorter life spans (perhaps because they take more risky chances).
Some have worried that happy people tend to be apathetic and easily manipulated by political leaders -- contented cows, so to speak. In Aldous Huxley's dystopian novel, ''Brave New World,'' the working classes are kept in docile submission by a diet of drugs that render them universally happy. In the real world, however, there is little evidence that happiness creates complacent citizens; in fact, studies show that happy people are more likely than alienated people to get politically involved, not less.
There is one bit of the world that happy people do see in an irrationally rosy light: themselves. As the British psychologist Richard P. Bentall has observed, ''There is consistent evidence that happy people overestimate their control over environmental events (often to the point of perceiving completely random events as subject to their will), give unrealistically positive evaluations of their own achievements, believe that others share their unrealistic opinions about themselves and show a general lack of evenhandedness when comparing themselves to others.'' Indeed, Bentall has proposed that happiness be classified as a psychiatric disorder.
That may be going a bit far. But the evidence he cites, along with the newfound link between ''well-feeling'' and prejudice, might at least shake our belief in happiness as the summum bonum. Over the last few decades, it is precisely the groups that have made the most social progress in the United States -- women and educated African-Americans -- that have reported declines in their level of happiness. On reflection, this is not surprising. As education and freedom increase, desires -- and unmet desires -- inevitably multiply; our well-feeling may decrease, even as life becomes fuller and more meaningful. In Eastern nations like China, where happiness as a goal is less highly rated, people report lower levels of life satisfaction, but they also have lower suicide rates.
The very idea that happiness could harm a person's character -- that it could be associated with prejudice, for example -- would have been unthinkable to ancient philosophers. They believed in an indissoluble bond between happiness and virtue. The virtuous man, they held, was bound to be happy, since he knew himself to be in possession of the highest good, a good that could not be taken away from him even when he was being tortured on the rack. With modern times, however, came the subjective ''well-feeling'' definition of happiness: when the fellow in the white coat asks you if you're happy, just check your mood, compare your circumstances with those of the people around you, then tell him how contented you feel.
Ambrose Bierce, in ''The Devil's Dictionary,'' offered the following definition: ''Happiness, n. An agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another.'' Well, there's no need to be that cynical. But, given some of the things we've learned about happiness, let's be grateful that we merely have a right to pursue it, not a duty.
LETTERS - 07-03-2004
Jim Holt's essay (The Way We Live Now, June 20) made me consider again what my own thoughts are on the subject of happiness, and one thing it is not is the goofy, giddy, smiley-face-on-the-bumper-sticker version. How about Aristotle's idea of happiness (eudaemonia)? If I remember correctly, he boils it down to the habit of living a virtuous life, which is further defined as being mindful of choosing the mean between extremes (i.e., to be courageous is to be neither foolhardy nor a coward). This delicate balance is the result of striving and self-discipline. Anyone can count himself happy if he goes to bed at night after a day of trying to be a decent, conscious and responsible member of the human race. That can bring us a tremendous sense of well-being.
Myakka City, Fla.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is far from the only great writer to take a dubious view of happiness. In one of his letters, Gustave Flaubert stated that two of the things required for happiness are good health and stupidity. And Tennessee Williams once famously defined happiness as "insensitivity.'' Perhaps the point both men were making was that in order to be happy, we generally have to focus on our own good fortune. Any significant amount of imagination or empathy allows the overwhelming misery in the world to come barreling in.
I awoke happy! After reading your essay, I learned that perhaps I was delusional, a bigot and suffering from a psychiatric disorder. No need to define my state of mind by "contemplating the misery of another.'' I'll just turn to the mirror.
Posted by R.O. at 8:47 AM
Thursday, July 08, 2004
Frida - This long-winded portrayal of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo's life is beautifully photographed but succeeds only in making the impression that maestro Diego Rivera and his lover Frida Kahlo had an amazing multiplicity of sexual partners. I am reminded of the time I watched Before Night Falls: I slept over it three times. No, I'm exaggerating. This one is too beautiful for anyone to nod off on.
Adaptation - Talk about fresh. And writerly. This movie talks about how people's passions can collide, and often with devastating results. Chris Cooper's acting is a wonder to behold even if his character is too disgusting to take. The second half of this movie, however, proved disappointing to me. Talk about insufficient foreshadowing.
About Schmidt - If you need to watch just one movie in a given year, watch this one in any year. Nothing quite like it before. It talks about the life of a retiree who sees himself as a failure. It deals with a rare subject matter, old age, retirement - and wonderfully fends off the huge potential for the story to become a total bore. I am reminded of It's a Wonderful Life and that Finnish movie about a man who lost everything, including his memory and identity. But this one has a lot of different, interesting twists. Heartwarming is the word. But wonder of wonders, this film succeeds in not being cheesy, I swear, not a second of it.
Posted by R.O. at 11:24 AM
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Zac zwears by the good laughs this author and his book is able to bring. How come it's only now that I hear people raving about it, esp. Ong's NKKBSNPLA Ko?!? Mga Kwentong Chalk? I'm beginning to dizlike Zac. I've tried to borrow this book, which he had borrowed from someone else, but Zac zeems to be taking hiz zweet time re-reading it.
Posted by R.O. at 12:33 PM
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
I lost my precious blogging time over to answering various posts from the mailing lists I subscribe to. Anyway I have nothing valuable to say for now except that Gorgeous is going gaga over this game: Crimson Room, Viridian Room How to get out of these rooms? Figure out for yourself! I still couldn't.
Posted by R.O. at 5:50 PM
Monday, July 05, 2004
This is an idea whose time should've come earlier than scheduled.
Hey kids, if you have given up on your government and its funny denizens, please don't give up on your own people. You can help the poor even if you count yourself among them.
Mechanics: Save P1 each day (you'll be needing all those 25 centavo coins for the jeep, right?) and put them in an empty can of Coke or mineral water. Come December of this year, submit your charity project to the office of a poor parish. Do it prayerfully, i.e., with a lot of love in your heart. Giving without loving is the same as loving without giving. Say your domo arigato gozaimaz to God and pray that you could give more.
Posted by R.O. at 5:23 PM
My description of PGMA's 10-point plan, that's what. Just so I can say I've actually read it. At this point, I wish to tell PGMA haters to start to try supporting the president. Can you imagine if FPJ won? People, it's the only country we have. We can't afford bungling it for the nth time.
Posted by R.O. at 1:55 PM
"Have you ever wondered," Fr. J. asks, speaking during the wake for his mom, "why we use flowers?"
Seems like a dumb question, but Fr. J. asks it, so it must be something smart.
It turns out to be an "Oo-nga-ano?" - instead of a D-uh - moment. Oftentimes, we keep on doing things without asking the whys and wherefores. That's what we, born and bred as Catholics, are mightily guilty of. The result is we lose sight of the beauty and significance, not to mention, the point, of it all.
Why do we use flowers in Christian rituals indeed? Is it merely to prettify things up a bit? That would be too silly and superficial if it were not something nice and sweet.
The obvious answer is no. Every object used in Catholic rituals has a symbolic meaning. We ecclesiastical ignoramuses need to go back to Philo 101, with all its phenomenology and eidetic reduction, to appreciate the question better.
To get straight to the point, "flowers symbolize life," says Fr. J. (I knew that already, in the form of a hearsay, thanks to R., who attended catechism class at age 25 or so.) "We cut and take away these beautiful things, deprive them of their life, as an offering of life to God." Since we cannot offer ourselves in such a direct way (remember, suicide is verboten, and so is murder, and God said "Thou shalt not kill," after all), we use flowers - poor plants! - as a metonymic substitute.
(Obviously, that's verbose and super-pretentious moi paraphrasing, silly.) "We use flowers during funerals as a symbol of our offering the life of our dear departed. We thank God for his gift of life and in celebration we offer it back to him."
"Can you imagine if we used plastic flowers?" continues Fr. J.
This further nails my profound hatred for plastic flower décors. Sorry to those who might get offended.
Finally I saw Fr. J.'s multinational seminarians. He teaches Biblical stuff to Indians, Vietnamese, Koreans and all types of races. If you want to watch a soccer game that seems to have been staged by the United Nations, or the Olympics Commission, go to any Don Bosco baseball field.
Posted by R.O. at 12:10 PM
The Happy Fruits
I spent Sunday conducting a film showing for the Happy Fruits girls and guys - that's the band of young people I harass into listening to my do-goodisms. It's funny because I see myself as a film buff and yet I found it soo hard to find a movie, local or foreign, fitting enough for the topic slated for July, which was about speech and wrongdoing.
Shall it be Jim Carey and Liar, Liar (limited topic)? Pinocchio (ditto)? Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, which was used in Spiderman 2 (might be too heavy and off-tangent)? Tanging Ina? Volta? (both out of scope)
I also reviewed Bruce Almighty for this purpose. (wrong move. Out of scope. the movie was more about God's will vs. our will, a topic I love to dissect, though, even if I know I fail at it.)
It was unfortunate for the Happy Fruits (I'm not in the pic) to have an uber-nerd like me to decide. Since I consider William Shakespeare to be the best English writer, I chose Much Ado About Nothing, the film version directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Emma Thomson, Kenneth Branagh, Robert Sean Leonard (where is he now?), Keanu Reeves, Kate Beckinsale, among others. I also have Julius Caesar or something in mind, what with all that Brutus and Marc Anthony scene and all, or am I mixing up characters, but I couldn't find a copy.
Much Ado About Nothing is of course a two-in-one love story, a comedy of errors, and a tale of mistaken identity, very Shakespearean, in other words. The challenge was to see it as a movie about words, about how words can be used for two warring parties to make love and how it can be used irresponsibly or criminally to deceive and bring death and destruction, even among friends.
I was nervous all along that the kids wouldn't get it. I was kinda guilty that I might have inflicted something beyond their ken - Shakespearean prose in English accent yet, plus some nude scenes fit for R-18! But the dear, old bard is somebody you can trust enough to deliver, even if you couldn't get some of his lines quite clearly. He's not a great writer for nothing. He has the gift of proper pacing, and tinkering with his plot twists and structure would be a criminal act. Thank God Branagh was good.
I was thankful me and my devoted team were able to bring the right message across. The whole thing didn't turn out to be a disaster like we feared. I'm glad I didn't underestimate the Happy Fruits.
That little foray into a video shop suddenly opened my eyes to the old and new movies I had mentally listed as must-see but failed to watch: Frida, Adaptation, About Schmidt, Piñero, Room with a View etc. etc. I had a chat with R. the other day and I found out the cad had copies of Kurosawas, Wong Kar Wais, etc. etc. and it's only now that he told me. I hope to see the documentary Imelda and the film Osama (at least) at the Cinemanila this week.
Posted by R.O. at 10:39 AM
Saturday, July 03, 2004
1. Your first name must rhyme with your last.
Gus Abelgas (ABS-CBN) (parodied to death by gays as Gosh! Abel-gosh!)
Ina Reformina (GMA 7?)
Rowena Orejana (ABS-CBN)
Emil Sumangil (GMA 7)
Have I missed anyone?
2. Or maybe you ought to have a tongue-twister for a name: Anna Marie Balane-Fuderanan. How's that for media mileage?
Question: I'm (again) a part-time (magazine) contributor (unofficially as of press time), does that make me a media person, too?
Another question: If the Internet is the new medium, does that make all bloggers media people?
Mr. McLuhan, we've got a problem here.
Posted by R.O. at 8:41 AM
Friday, July 02, 2004
(Boracay in the mist)
I had a very mathematically interesting chat with A. the other day.
x-p, expectorant: i think u hav a gift of synchronicity, ewan ko lang
A: im aware of synchronicity
A: you're the second person/friend who SAID EXACTLY the phrase in my mind
A: kapag me nagmetion sa akin ng EXACT term what I had in mind...it's really proof for me
x-p: you should develop that. baka pwede nating pagkakitaan, hehe
A.: 'You have the gift of synchronicity'
A.: eksaktong eksakto....pangalawa ka na
A.: i have written nga about that..pero pagtatawanan lang ako..palagi n
A.: even in the office....mga 5 kami..almost daily, me nangnyayari synchronicity...and witnessed ng officemates ko
A.: daming examples....walang makakadeny sa akin while i was in my previous employer
x-p: i don't think ikaw lang may ganyang gift. there are others who think they have it
A.: about 3 or 4 events are synchronized sa akin daily
x-p: maybe that's how the universe expresses its love for u. could it be God?
A.: the concept of asymptote in mathematics is a proof there are things we cannot explain,...how a graph could not intersect a line...but visually, it's impossible not to intersect it
A.: that between two people standing next to each other, there's infinity in numbers..since there's infinity between 1 to 2..di ba
A.: 1.9999 ....1.0000000999999999 .....2.0
A.: but one person could reach out his hand
A.: the concept of limits in calculus
A.: the more i discover new things...the more gifts..or whatever i get..the more i see God
A.: name it...science...technology..even in computers
A.: even chaos theory
A.: my engineering background is geodetic engineering..because among the mathematics, it's where i excelled compared to algebra, and calculus
A.: thats why i liked proving and disproving..and geometric concepts
x-p: wow. you know what, ang alam lang kasi natin limited sa Newtonian-Cartesian plane,
x-p: but there is a whole different world or worlds beyond the Cartesian plane, diba, not limited to cosine theta or cosecant whatnot!
A.: yep....siguro i cannot write a complete mathematical explanation of God
Posted by R.O. at 6:29 PM
Thursday, July 01, 2004
Borders, as redefined by certain quarters
Sport - fun competition turned work turned private enterprise turned politics
Politics - career in public service turned private enterprise turned showbiz
Showbiz - entertainment turned political career
Media - information turned entertainment turned showbiz turned political career
Work (for minimum wage earners) - making-a-living turned sport turned bad joke turned nightmare
Posted by R.O. at 1:57 PM
"Intelligence is not a privilege but a gift."
Right on! But I already know that.
Watched Spiderman 2 last night for free, thanks to R. and Epson's special screening ticket. Everything is great about this movie except one major thing which I keep on blabbering about Hollywood movies: Violence is glamorized.
Sadly, glammed-up violence sells. There was a major typhoon but G4's cinema lobby was jampacked!
Either I am getting too old or I am actually right.
On second thought, Spiderman 2 has depth, humanity, complexity, pathos, hilarious humor, imagination, visual artistry, visual wit, technological wizardry. I could forgive the one or two lines I find too shopworn, coming out from Peter Parker's aunt's mouth.
Posted by R.O. at 1:21 PM