Thursday, April 30, 2009

East vs West.

Everyone here is going gaga, not of the flu virus but of the coming boxing match of our own Manny Pacquiao and Englishman Ricky Hatton on Sunday. I am not a boxing fanatic but I always cheer for Manny whenever he fights for the title.

I wonder if the tale of the tape in every fight could make a difference. Well, maybe there is always something that is worth noting in the tale of the tape, so here is the comparison for Pacman and Ricky Hatton.

Manny Pacquiao
Height: 5’6”
Stance: Southpaw
Reach: 67”
Record: 48-3-2 36 KO

Ricky Hatton
Height: 5'7"
Stance: Orthodox
Reach: 65"
Record: 45-1 32 Knock outs

So where else do we look for the difference? Let’s find out their previous opponents in the last 5 fights.

Ricky Hatton fought the last fight with Paulie Malignaggi, Juan Lazcano, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Jose Luis Castillo, and Juan Urango. Two names sound a bell to boxing enthusiasts. These are Castillo and Mayweather Jr. The other was a big win, and the other was the opposite. In the past 5 fights of Ricky Hatton, he got 2 unanimous decision, 2 knock out win, and 1 humiliating TKO loss to Moneyman.

Manny Pacquiao’s record for the last 5 fights show how great this man is. The list of opponents includes the likes of Oscar De La Hoya (you do not have to ask me who he is), fellow pound for pound king Juan Manuel Marquez, legendary Marco Antonio Barrera, and aspiring boxer Jorge Solis. Of course if I could extend the list, there is the Erik Morales two run victories.

The quality of opponents alone could give us a true picture of how competent this man would be. He did not just made a very astonishing finish, he made it clean. In the last 5 fights, 3 came by way of technical knock out.

Assessing alone the previous enemies of this two, you can already distinguish who has the upper hand. But wait am I hearing a howl from my English friends? Hahaha!

Sure the match isn't over till we hear the bell and with both boxer preparing hard for this match, then, your guess is as good as mine. I will have to do my household chores early on Sunday morning so I will have the ring side seat - my couch, to watch the fight.

By the way the ringside tickets sold as high as $15,000. I am sure the venue will be teeming with spectators... watch out for those Mexicans!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

While the mutation continue...

Have you ever seen a glowing dog?

No, me either.

But aside from the swine flu virus hogging our television 24/7 there was a report yesterday that scientists in Seoul, Korea have engineered through cloning 4 beagles that glow red. I’m not sure how this is connected but they say that this will lead to finding cures for human diseases.

It's also big news that South Korean scientists have created the first transgenic dog that glow in the dark. "Transgenic" simply means expressing a "trans-gene," or a gene normally found in another organism. They were able to do this by inserting a fluorescent gene from sea anemones into dog fibrolast cells.

As someone who has kept dogs as pets, it's hard for me to think about using them as research animals. I'm not sure that I could personally work in a lab that studies them, due to my emotional involvement with the species.

Besides, whats the point of a glow in the dark dog? Ok, maybe it matters only as a proof of concept that RFP (red fluorescent protein) is an easy to insert gene.

At a time when the use of dogs and cats in research has been declining, this is a step in exactly the wrong direction.

As far as scientific studies go, I suggest that we let them practice and do studies on the real animals on death row, you know, the ones that we are supporting. Yeah, why not? Let's cut the deficit...Start with MAN because isn’t that where it all began?

Animal testing is not normal. It was never normal. It won't be normal. It must be stopped everywhere.

God bless our animals.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

PROBE: Swine flu virus.

Kirst, had talked about it. Our print and mass media had covered it. News about it flowed non-stop.

But behind the loud noise, speculation is ripe that this virus come about because of the use of a synthetic peptide pig vaccine field trial in central Mexico which could have spawned the quadruply swine flu virus outbreak. Read more of the article here.

There is indeed something odd about the virus thought to be behind the current H1N1 swine flu outbreak. Is there a conspiracy to provoke pandemic?

We all thought that because of laboratory protocols that are routine for vaccine makers, mixing a live virus biological weapon with vaccine material by accident is virtually impossible.

No, it's not, if there was an intent to breach that protocol.

I have read that Baxter laboratory claimed to have "accidentally" mixed the deadly H5N1 virus with a mix of H3N2 seasonal flu virus. The H5N1 virus on its own has killed hundreds of people, but it is less airborne. However, when combined with seasonal flu viruses, which are more easily spread, the effect was a potent, airborne, deadly biological weapon.

But is “mistake” really an accurate term to describe this? What if there’s the issue of motive? Would Baxter have had any reason to carry out such a malicious and deadly scheme?

Well, if a bird flu pandemic did break out, the demand for bird flu vaccines would certainly skyrocket … and the profits from such a mass vaccination program would be astronomical. So while it is unthinkable that a drug company would knowingly contaminate flu vaccines with a deadly bird flu virus, it is certainly not impossible.

So, here we are once again faced with “the impending pandemic of the Swine Flu” which could well become a fictional mini-series.

What is really going on is a scenario filled with greed and political corruption. By igniting fear in the public and massaging some key statistics, the powers-that-be will be able to justify the expense for a massive vaccine stockpile to ward off the swine flu.

We also know that the US military plays with these viruses all the time and it is not unknown for strains of virus to be actually released at convenient political times.

The fact that the properties of the strain are completely new, that the virus is spreading from people to people, and that the young and healthy are being hit worst, has disturbing parallels to the deadly 1918 pandemic that killed millions.

It is unclear as to why, if the virus is a brand new strain, that public health officials are so confident programs of mass vaccination, which are already being prepared, would necessarily be effective.

It certainly wouldn't be the first time that deadly flu viruses have been concocted in labs and then dispatched with the intention of creating a pandemic.

Is it such a convenient time now ?

Monday, April 27, 2009

When action speaks louder than word.

It is by acts and not by ideas that people live. — Anatole France

As usual, my Sunday was spent watching a movie marathon. I put on a DVD disc which contain about 8 movies in it, and I just allowed it to run its natural course and not skip. Its a variety of films - comedy, drama, action, and an animated picture!

Who would have thought that it would take a children's animated movie to remind me that actions speak louder than words? Have you seen WALL-E? Yes, that old Pixar movie?

It's a love story that begins and ends with two words, "WALL-E" and "Eva", yet it speaks volumes. It left me speechless and made me realize that saying just a few words is not such a bad thing. In a world that is driven by too few actions and way too many words, WALL-E reminds me that it does not matter what you say but rather what you do that counts - whether it be saving the planet or winning over someone’s heart.

Have you ever really thought about the phrase – Actions speak louder than words? We know that words represent the verbal expression of thoughts and emotions. Yes, they can stimulate a person's imagination, and paint a mental image of the exact message the we hope to convey. But words are just words. Even if they express intent, only action can determine the outcome of any thought or idea.

Actions speak louder than words, because taking action can lead to the fulfillment of our objective. They solidify our commitment of following through with what was said.

This is not to say however that words do not carry weight. They can give direction, create perception, inspire, and motivate. But words cannot throw a ball, take out the garbage, feed the needy, or give a kiss. They are incapable of mowing the lawn, repairing a roof, digging a flower bed, or anything other than expressing the intent to take action. Words may be filled with promises, but they are empty of substance unless we act on it.

Words can also be misinterpreted or misunderstood, while actions seldom are. Words can make promises and create hope, but only action can fulfill those promises or make hope a reality.

And even when language differences may not always allow us to understand the words spoken by others, yet in many cases, certain actions are universal. We do not need to speak or understand a foreign language to acknowledge a smile or a handshake, but through the action, the message is conveyed.

Like Wall-E, lets act more and talk less.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Not on sale.

I envy you people with all your bargain finds, and how I wish I am on a hunt in a flea market or a boot sale or in a store purchasing a pretty item for the house on a steal price, so I can also share them with you. Unfortunately, I have not been to any of them.

However, let me share with you the simple things I discover this week that gave me pleasure, and they didn't cost me a thing!


The first summer heat of March was just mildly uncomfortable. Then it became tiring, and then, oppressive. Everyday the temperature continue to rise, until finally, in the dusty, dried up days of April 20 the rain -- at last -- came. And it rained a few hours everyday since. After day upon day of parched summer heat, the rain was such a welcome relief!

My slipper:

In this part of the globe flip flops are called slippers or sandals. Oh how, I love Saturdays because it allows me to wear my slippers to work. What a comfort! Yes, they were originally made out of recycled tires, but now they come in a variety of designs and colors.

My neighbor store:

My neighbor "Sari-sari" store is equivalent to your urban or rural convenient store. But it is much more than just a store that sells single packaged items. It is a place of congregation, where I can catch up on the local rumors and gossip - it is probably where most gossip originates. Ha ha!

Sun dried laundry:

For me, hanging out my laundry makes me giddy with pleasure. Nothing beats the smell of a sun-dried clothes! It reminds me of my family that once upon a time, not too long ago, were using the elements of wind, water and sun.

Look around you and see what simple things give you pleasure...

Friday, April 24, 2009

My life.

My previous post made me ponder about my own life...

Nice and easy – that is life for me. I am from a middle-class family that is lucky to be able to keep our heads above the economic crisis. I get a lot of support from relatives. And thankfully, there is always someone to turn to in times of need. I don’t have near-death experiences to talk about. I can’t discuss eating disorders, or lack of self-esteem that could possibly lead to depression.

Love? Well, I’ve been through its various stages from getting-to-know, courting, dating, being together, breaking up, being bitter, moving on, finding someone better – and going through the whole process again because once will never be enough. LOVE is happiness no matter how much it might hurt or how stupid it makes me. Only love can make me sing my heart out in the shower and stand shivering for hours in the rain. Only love can keep me wishing on falling stars even though I am old and gray.

I have never really found a reason to complain about my life. Even with a broken heart, I never fell apart. I have always been optimistic who believes everything will turn out right and – voila – they actually do!

I am not a sociable person and a perfect day for me is just staying home and watching a marathon movie. But another perfect part of my life are my friends on-line (you know who you are!). These connections make me feel like I belong, that I fit right in and that there’s a spot saved especially for me.

But like most everything else, nothing is perfect. I know I will continue to spend the other half of my life looking for that certain high that will make me feel how it is to live. I need a dose of harsh reality that will make me bleed until I realize I am still human. I need to get hurt and feel pain so that I can pour out the tears. And I want to be able to look back and laugh about it someday because I know I haven’t wasted my life dreaming.

Have I reached my turning point? Do we have turning points where we have to make crucial decision about family or personal goals? Or is it the little decisions I make every day that make me feel good or bad? I know I don't want to confine myself to a small box I consider my heaven without realizing how exciting the paradise outside can be. Like everyone else, I get tired, I get my fill of it and I tug at the seams to find something to fix, something to alter, something to learn.

Maybe tomorrow one of my wishes will come true. I could come up with a hundred more "MAYBES" and still I wouldn’t know for sure. Because if I already know what will happen tomorrow, my life would probably be so perfect I myself would look for ways to wreck it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Although the incidence of suicide in the Philippines is not as high as those in developed countries, this country has had its share of high-profile cases. The latest is the case of Trina, wife of a popular television and radio broadcaster here.

It baffled me no end, because the family is well off, and the family was never involved in any controversy, even when previously Ted Failon, the broadcaster, had a short stint in the house of representative being elected congressman of his District .

Indeed, suicide is more complicated than most of us think it to be. And when I googled it, I was disturbed to know that most suicide is committed by teenagers!

People who end their lives or attempt suicide might be trying to escape feelings of rejection, hurt, or loss. Others might be angry, ashamed, or guilty about something. Still others may be worried about disappointing friends or family members. And some may feel unwanted, unloved, victimized, or like they're a burden to others. And at that particular moment dying seemed like the only way out.

What the heck, we all feel overwhelmed by difficult emotions or situations sometimes. But somehow we get through it or are able to put our problems in perspective and find a way to carry on with determination and hope!

So why does one person try suicide when another person in the same tough situation does not? What makes some people more resilient than others? What makes a person unable to see another way out of a bad situation besides ending his or her life?

I don’t have answers to these questions. Except that maybe some people focus more on failures and disappointments, or emphasize the negative side of their situation and downplay their capabilities or worth. They become so depressed that they see no possibility of a good outcome and believe they will never be happy or that things will never go right for them.

Surprisingly, those who have survived this act, had told relatives that they aren't completely sure they want to die, but that it’s just a way to express deep emotional pain. They can't say how they feel, so, for them, attempting suicide feels like the only way to get their message across.

This is especially sad as many people who really didn't mean to kill themselves end up dead or critically ill.

But one thing is certain, people are better able to deal with tough circumstances when they have at least one person who believes in them, one person who wants the best for them, someone whom they can confide.

So if you find someone who is depressed and talked about committing suicide, then don’t be afraid or feel uncomfortable talking to him or her. Try to overcome these feelings of discomfort — this is a time when someone absolutely needs to feel connected to others.

A simple act of listening may save a life.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Doubly difficult ...

Ha,ha,ha! Don't let the picture deceived you. I just want to show how discriminating some employers could be. And also because I find the picture funny!

Anyway, we all know that in these hard times, a lot of people are trying hard to hold on to their jobs. Whenever a company had to cut down its work force the first to go perhaps are those people with chronic illness. Maybe the company thought they are giving the person the needed rest that their body demand.

But come to think about it, when they finally stopped working and went on disability, they would missed working more than any normal person thought possible. It is because working helped them feel normal, distracted them from their sick body and gave them an income that they valued and needed.

With out a job, they would develop the nagging fear that they would never be able to work again. This same fear could expand into a feeling of being financially vulnerable and unable to support themselves without assistance. Ultimately, it could lead to a sense of feeling trapped.

Yes! It’s not a pretty picture. It’s certainly not an inevitable outcome, but sadly, it’s a common scenario now a days.

The majority of people with a chronic illness want to work, consider themselves able to work, and repeatedly express the need for job training, support and services. For them holding a job is important because almost more than anything else in this culture, work defines an individual and provides them with identity.

And for someone with a chronic illness and is always defined by that illness, an occupational identity is especially important.

Are you aware that there are more people now living with chronic illness than at any time in history? Many of them want to be in the workforce for psycho, social and financial reasons.

For those living with a lifetime disability, a flexible job is their top priority, along with a supportive boss. But alas, these aren't easy to come by!

Folks,we are all individuals and we deal with illness in our own unique way. But this shouldn't be a reason to discriminate them from working or keep them out of the workforce. Companies should not view people on the basis of what they cannot do, rather than looking at what they are able to do.

Chronically ill people's identities are diverse. Therefore we should not assume that disability is the same for everyone.

Employment and equality should be built on the potential with which a person with long term illnesses have to offer. The industry should reflect the fact that sickness is an issue likely to affect every individual at one stage of their lives or another.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Technology: A curse to privacy.

This topic come about from the long and ardous discussion I have with an American friend - yes, the angry one, hahaha!. As most other Americans, he relentlessly talked about Obama's adoption to Bush position on warrantless wiretapping and secrecy. But I would rather he write about it in his blog.(AA, are you listening?)

I agree with him that privacy is central to human dignity and liberty. We all need a retreat from public view. We need a secluded area in which to ventilate our hopes and fears, our loves and hates. In short, we all need an opportunity to "let our hair down", to be ourselves.

So, how free would any of us be or feel if our homes could be readily invaded, our letters readily inspected, and our conversations readily monitored?

In this modern times however, keeping our affairs private is constantly eroded. Electronic bugs have advanced to the point where they can overhear conversations anywhere and everywhere. They can spy on us in our board rooms, union halls, dining rooms, parlours, and even in our bedrooms.

It is therefore important that democratic society reconcile the protection of privacy with the needs of law enforcement. But, like other fundamental freedoms, privacy cannot be absolute and unlimited. Some limitations under some circumstances are necessary and inevitable.

Police theorized that eavesdropping is necessary to spy on terrorist. So the difficult question is how much should be permitted? Under what kind of safeguards? To serve what law enforcement purposes?

What measures, then, would be appropriate to deal with such potentially pervasive invasions of privacy? How can we most reasonably balance the competing claims of law enforcement and personal privacy in an age of such technological sophistication?

Oh, the computer! Yes, computers are now being employed to record information relating to millions of people on a wide variety of matters - health, employment, intelligence, aptitudes, credit, reliability emotional disposition, personal habits etc. Initially collected by governments, schools, employers, credit agencies, insurance companies, etc., much of this material is now co-ordinated and stored in the powerful memory banks of modern computers.

In less than a second, these machines can make co-ordinated information available and usable. Access to the computer's memory bank can give access to substantial information on countless numbers of people.

Now, how can we evaluate the competing claims of information collection and personal privacy? How can we prevent the information from being used for any purpose but that for which it was originally collected?

On what basis and in what ways can we limit access to the computer's memory banks?

No wonder that life is simpler then...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Alas, a toy for our felines.

This post is for those who have cats at home, or for people who simply love cats. You see, I have two adult cats and two kitties, and all are very playful and energetic. So I was very happy to stumble upon this simple yet very helpful tips of getting my cats personal plaything called the "Happy Socks".

A Happy Sock is a big, fluffy catnip toy that can be made by taking a sock, stuffing it with a combination of polyester fiberfill and catnip, and then tying a knot in the ankle. The result is a durable, huggable toy that cats can lick, kick, and enjoy for countless hours.

Happy Sock catnip toys are more than mere playthings for stressed-out cat in strange surroundings. A whiff of catnip can be very therapeutic. They say, a soft, fluffy Happy Sock is a feline equivalent of a cuddly teddy bear.

Finally Kirst, here is something we can do that do not need the like of Tracey's artistic talent for our little furry babies! It doesn't have to be pretty although you can use a variety of colored socks to make one as pretty as you want them to be. They can be made from almost any kind of sock. And cats will love Happy Sock catnip toys because they're big, fluffy and durable.

If you readers can make more of these Happy Socks, then you can donate them to any cat shelter near you. I am sure those kitties will be very happy to have them.

Do cats in your shelter Ray, have these Happy Socks?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Pirates be afraid. Be very afraid!

The hijacking of the US freighter Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates, have produced some good. Good because the hijacking of an American-flagged ship is finally focusing international attention on Somali piracy.

For everyone's information, the pirates seized 42 ships in 2008, got $30 million to $50 million in ransom and are still holding about 250 seamen of various nationalities hostage.

Before the Maersk Alabama seizure, the rich and developed countries did not pay much attention to Somali piracy. After all, they probably thought, why should they when most of the crew members seized came from poor countries like the Philippines, Bangladesh and Pakistan?

But once an American-flagged freighter was hijacked and an American captain was taken hostage, the rich nations sat up and took notice and their media covered each twist and turn of the drama on the high seas.

Now that this one hijacking case has been resolved, what will happen next? Will the international community take concerted action to rid the Horn of Africa of the Somali pirates?

In the meantime, all steps have to be taken to rescue or obtain the release of about 250 seamen, including 92 Filipinos, still being held hostage by the Somali pirates. I rely on the American US navy and marines to take action on this.

The problem has not ended with the rescue of one American captain.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

When hard times hit home.

I know I just have to share this with you people. You see my boss called me into his office and asked me whether I’d consider taking a salary cut in order to keep my job.

Was I surprised? No.

I know it isn't easy for the boss to have to tell me this, as he very well know of my situation. And he still showed his considerable fairness as he opted for only a 5% cut reduction and not 10% or 15%. Besides I am very much aware that as the worldwide recession deepens, more and more companies are adopting this strategy in an effort to reduce labor costs while avoiding major layoffs.

Without blinking my eye, I took the offer as it will allow me to remain gainfully employed. I think a 5% wage cut is still better than not getting paid at all - especially if the work makes me happy. I didn't base my decision on money alone as there’s something to be said about job security. Besides, in the current market, my chances of snagging a better offer elsewhere are relatively slim. In fact, it’s more likely I’d end up in the unemployment line.

I am certain my boss was relieved when I accepted the offer, because the decision make it easier for him to keep my friends and colleagues in the payroll. Although of course I am aware that the lower pay check will directly affect my ability to provide for myself and family. That’s why it is equally important for me to review my budget carefully and know what I can do without.

But regardless of the pay cut, I am happy I still have a job to go to. I know during these hard times there are alot of people who are not so lucky.

So here I am in the office, with integrity still intact. I will not let my reduced pay affect the quality of my work or make me bitter. I know me and the boys will get by.

God had sent us a remarkable and wonderful angel.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Regret not.

Don’t get me wrong - being young and having fun is as important as anything in life. But the young people of today are more adventurous hence they want to try everything!

Okay, assuming they live past the age of 30, then certainly, there are a few things they just can’t get away with, without reaping some serious consequences. It just makes me wonder how they could have been such a complete and total dumbass.

Take for example - piercing. A single safety pin would have been fine, but for others it just wasn’t cool enough, so they switched to 16-gauge hoops, then to 14, and before you knew it, they’ve shoved the biggest damn thing in their ears that it looks like they’re from Ethiopia!

Fast forward and they're now in their 40's and finally decided they want to take out the massive disks in their ears. OMG, how will it look like? The lobes will be so stretched, they’ll have to have them sewn-up to keep them from looking like they have a shriveled butt hole on each ear!

Then there are the young girls who for some reason, just can’t help posting pictures of themselves and their friends doing stupid, drunken, naked things online.

What are they thinking?!

Sometime, sooner or later, those pictures are going to come back to haunt them. And when they do, it will start a storm they can’t even imagine. And pretty soon that silly act when they were 23 will turn into the reason they are fired from their job, divorced from their husbands and estranged from their children.


Monday, April 13, 2009

The knock out punch.

I have three teenage boys, and being a mother of boys I naturally fear for them getting into a fight. We live in a society where if you look at someone the wrong way they punch you - violence crazed teeners like themselves with testosterone off the charts.

How do I know when it is permissible for my boys to fight? When do I determine that an altercation was justifiable and when it was not? A boy fighting off a kidnapper is surely to be praised, but a boy reducing himself to a fistfight over the last sweet is undisciplined. As a parent I instruct my boys to fight in a life-threatening situation and not to fight when the issue is petty.

I know the threshold varies across guys, and across cultures as well. Some guys won't even throw a punch if a drunken stranger gropes their girlfriend, while others (particularly in, say, Scotland) will feel free to swing a haymaker or worse if you dare to support the wrong soccer team.

My grand father use to tell my dad and his siblings "Don't ever fight. When you fight, you lower yourself to the level of an animal. Animals fight, men, think. Now, that having been said, when you do fight, and you will; remember when animals fight there are no rules, there is win or lose. But remember, like I said ... Dont ever fight!"

Isn't he just genius?

I do believe that violence can always be easily avoided in most situations, but I feel it is also important for my boys to first explain to the individual the situation and why it's horribly wrong. If the individual decides to not listen then I think striking fear on them will work best.

Otherwise, a real man can think on his feet.

I know what you think Ray, it would make my sons look sissies! (Hummp!)

But i do hate violence, although of course, there is always exception to every rule, like when they see an old lady getting beat up on, or when they will be in a situation where they just couldn't walk away.

What do you think, where should the kids draw the line? A thrown drink? Unflattering comments concerning their mother? ( I know I have to type that one, ha ha!)

Do they keep it in until the shoving starts?

When does a gentleman have the right to throw a punch?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

To bear or not to bear arms.

First, let me tell you we have gun control in the Philippines. Our national police has also been promoting responsible gun ownership and preventing proliferation of loose firearms, thereby granting only certificates to own gun bought through legitimate gun dealers.

Our government is actually helping citizens to use the correct and legal means to obtain firearms while trying to prosecute criminals in order to reduce the problem with guns being used in crime.

I have previously dealt with this topic but I deemed it appropriate to talk about it again as in the midst of a seeming wave of mass shootings in the US, Americans seem to be changing their minds about gun control. They are not, however, coming to the opinion that gun bans will solve gun crime. Rather, support for gun control is declining, and more Americans are coming out in support of the right to bear arms.

Why do you think this is? Are U.S. citizens responding to economic uncertainty by adopting a fortress mentality?

But despite the U.S government's effort to ban various types of guns, yet criminals still get guns, no matter what is banned. Even someone who is mentally disturbed enough to shoot a dozen random people and then shoot themselves. I think if someone is that mentally unstable, they'll just switch the method of killing from guns to explosives!

Oh there's no question that guns make things easier for crimials and violent thugs, but they also make things easier for innocent lawful citizens to protect themselves against criminal attack. Criminals you see, do not need rights and freedoms to get guns and commit crimes, but those lawful citizens need rights and freedoms to be able to protect and defend themselves from criminals. See the irony here?

When you disarm honest lawful citizens who are not a threat to society against violent criminals, who is being protected and who is left vulnerable?

So in the face of panic and uncertainty, will you be arming yourself too?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sporting a big goofy grin.

There is always someone or something that makes us smile. However, sometimes, and I don't think I'm alone on this, a smile is a lot harder to come by than it should be. In an attempt to make every day smile worthy, I've put together a list of little things that always leave me with a happy feeling.

Check them out and add your own!

1. Falling in love.
2. A special glance.
3. No lines at the supermarket.
4. Hearing my favorite song on the radio.
5. Lying in bed listening to the rain outside.
6. Hot towels fresh out of the dryer.
7. A long distance phone call.
8. Having someone tell you that you're beautiful.
9. Friends.
10. Waking up and realizing you still have a few hours left to sleep.
11. Sweet dreams.
12. Accidentally overhearing someone say something nice about you.
13. Running into an old friend and realizing that some things never change.
14. Watching the expression on someone's face as they open a much desired present from me.
15. My kids coming home from school.
16. A work day that flies by.
17. Holding hands with someone you care about.
18. Finding a money in my pants pocket from last week.
19. My cat when she snuggles close to me.
20. Coming home to a clean house.

How about you, what little things put a smile on your face?

Friday, April 10, 2009

A summer of my childhood.

IT is on these lazy summer days that one’s thoughts turn to summers past and the happy memories of those years when I spent summer in Manara in Negros Island with my grandmother. We have a coffee plantation there, which is the source of income for the family.

I remember that I couldn’t wait for school to end so that the summer vacation and the happy times could begin. There were so many things to do, so many places to visit, so many games to play.

There were many wild places, many nooks and crannies to explore; many fish and crabs to catch; many trees to climb; many fruits to pick and eat; and a big river with clear cool water to swim in.

The coffee plantation stretches as far as the eye could see, and the wind blew across them unhampered so that even when the sun was at its hottest, you won’t feel the heat on your skin because the breeze was cool and you become sunburned without realizing it.

On land, there were many things to see. Riverbanks and islets overgrown with trees and weeds. There were almost always birds nest hidden in the grass or among the branches of the trees. When you climbed trees like the guava or tamarind or santol, you finnd ripe fruits ready for the taking and eating.

Then there were the birds, lizards and insects. Because there were many trees, naturally there were many birds of all sizes, colors, and bird calls. Sometimes you would be roused from reverie by the sweet song of a bird and you looked up and searched for it, following the source of the song and you would see a colorful bird, perhaps a yellow oriole which had one of the sweetest songs I have ever heard (they are gone now).

Insects were plentiful. When you entered a grove of trees, you would be greeted by the hum of cicadas which were well camouflaged. Although one may be perched on the trunk of a tree right in front of you, you could not see it until you came near and it flies off with a screech.

When you walked the pond banks and grasslands, brown grasshoppers hopped ahead of you. Dragonflies also hovered ahead of you, the small blue and white ones perching on the tips of blades of grass then flying away when you come nearer. The bigger red ones hovered over the water like helicopters, swooping down at prey now and then.

Butterflies of all colors and sizes fluttered everywhere among the flowers. And bees couldn’t be ignored with their buzzing among the flowers of vegetable vines.

Oh, those were the days...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Young girl's ideals go awry.

It’s absolutely appalling what I saw on tv - a very long queue of young women wanting to audition for a spot on a television based model contest. There was even a stampede because girls were shoving each other.

Not to mention that 25% of young women questioned in a TV poll reported that they would rather be awarded first prize on America’s Next Top Model than be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize!

A total of 50% said they would happily marry an ugly man if he was rich!

What is going on with our female population? Is anyone paying attention? Has the media completely overpowered them?

Maybe it's because our young women are constantly being bombarded with frivolous ideals and goals that are only short term. Beauty is fine, but the type of beauty that is being promoted won’t last. Eventually every single one will get older despite that wrinkle cream.

What will happen to girls with this mindset when they hit 40 and realize that their first prize on America’s Next Top Model does not qualify as job experience?

It would be very sad if one day they wake up and realize they are unhappy in their marriage since they only married for money, but they can’t escape because by then, they are entirely dependent.

Will they turn to plastic surgery? Become alcoholics? Commit suicide?

Darn, something needs to be done now to prevent this absurd youth consciousness.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Maids in China.

This is inspired by Chip Tsao article: A war at Home

Of course, I admit we send maids, also called servants, to Hong Kong. Of course, we send caregivers, also called servants, to Canada. Of course, we send janitors, also called servants, to clean the toilet bowls of the world. And of course, we are a nation of servants.

But to be called so by a Chinese person, that is too much. I do not know which is the worse insult, being called so, or being called so by a Chinese person.

The point is simple. Being Filipinos and Christians, we practice this one fundamental truth: Being is nothing, being seen is everything.

So how can we even declare war with Hongkong, when it belong to China? I am dismayed by the prospect, not only because China is huge, but because China had long invaded us.

You see, our biggest malls here belong to Chinese businessmen. Our flag carrier airline is owned by another chinese. Even the best restuarants in the city are owned by chinese. The DVDs I bought is distributed my muslims, but it is the chinese who manufactured them.

It’s true: The world was made by God, everything else was made in China.

But wait....if we have so many nannies in Hongkong they can also work as our spies! They can teach their wards the works of Rizal, Bonifacio, Mabini and other local heroes. Wow, they can raise an entire generation of Hongkong kids loyal to the Philippines!

Their wards would be like “sleepers” or “moles,” who would wake up one day to fulfill the mission planted in their brains from infancy.

The more I dwelled on it, the more I liked it(hands rubbing together). From somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind the thought reverberated: The hand that rocks the cradle rocks the world.

The hand that rocks the cradle rocks China...

Just a Jest.

Dear readers:

Yesterday I wrote an article about leaving and the removal of this blog.

Hey, it was written just for laughs, folks! If you check out my other blogs, you would know that I do love to poke fun with myself.

Some commenters seemed to think that it's true, maybe it's because most of you aren't familiar with our president that it didn't elicit laughter but rather worry and sadness .

So here I am, telling you that it was indeed just a joke, and View from Above will not be removed at 12 noon as I have jestly stated, ok?

I am very touched though to know that I will be missed.

Blog owner

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Dear readers:

Let me say this at the outset: This is not a joke. How I wish it were.

My worst fear has been realized. My bosses have learned I am posting in my blog from work, and as I expected, they weren’t amused. I have been suspended for one week, and I was given the same period to take this blog down.

HR told me that there is a clear “conflict of interest” with what I am doing here and my line of work, and they pointed out a clause in my contract to this effect. I was also asked to submit a written report explaining my actions and why I should keep my position within the company.

I do like my job, and I would gladly resign if I did not. But I love blogging. And I love the people who regularly visit me here, especially those whom I have come to know better. You know who you are.

It is ironic that I am telling this news to you today - on a Holy Week, where we Christians are suppose to repent and atone for our sins.

Tomorrow, A View from Above will disappear like a dream. There is a sense of irony, but there’s something else too, like of things coming full circle. Maybe this is for the best.

Tomorrow, I will go out with a whimper not a bang, and for this I am truly sorry, dear reader – more sorry than you can ever imagine.

I think only five people know about my real identity. But now I guess it is high time everybody did. I think I owe you this much.

I am not really a chemist. I am not really named Odette. But you have probably heard about me.

I work in the government. HR was right. There was conflict of interest here. There were things I said that placed certain people in a bad light and that worked, in some ways, to my advantage.

I am not proud of this. I hope you will forgive me for this.

We knew each other for over 6 months, dear reader, and I truly had a blast. Maybe someday, we will see each other again.

I will take down A View from Above tomorrow at exactly 12 noon. If you have any favorite stories here, I do not mind if you save them in your computer. But I urge you to refrain from posting them elsewhere.

Thank you, everyone. It was fun while it lasted. :D

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
14th President of the Philippines

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Shopping used to be fun...

There is an on going three-day-sale at SM mall nearby. So yesterday I decided to check out what items I could buy since it has been a long while that I shopped for myself.

I browsed through the store. I enjoyed the soothing atmosphere, the music, the scented candles, the bubbling fountain... I achieved a zen-like state of peace.

Wonderful, I even found a cute top and (gasp!) pants that actually match. An outfit! A nice lady showed me the fitting room. It was swanky. Nothing to fear, there.

I hummed along to the soothing music and got ready to try on the pants. Then, I absently glanced over to the mirror and...

Oh my gosh, who is that ghastly creature staring back at me? Are those...eye bags? Who designed the lighting in this place? Beelzebub? Sweet Jesus, what is that under my nose? Holy cats, I look like Chewbacca!

I threw my clothes back on and ran like heck.

For the first time, I was grateful for the workouts I did every morning because my feet carried me out of that store like two turbo charged Cadillac. The sales lady shrieked as I flew past, but I didn't care.

I muttered something like "I'm sorry, but I think I saw a scary middle-aged lady in the fitting room!" To my horror, I heard her mumble, "What do you expect?"

I threw open the doors, and stumbled out to the street. I glanced apprehensively at the store, fearing that the sales clerk was running after me.

Instead, I catch a glimpse of something that immediately soothed me.

Mouth watering chocolate cake...another bliss!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Why getting old is a bliss.

I know I can't fool myself. Once I hit my forties, something happens.

Suddenly I can't read a novel unless I hold it with my arms straight out, which gets pretty tiring. So I went to the optical store and picked up a pair of reading glasses. I checked out the new glasses in the store mirror, which isn't small enough to hide my flabby gut.

Well, I just comfort myself with the thought that at least, my protruding stomach diverts attention away from my wrinkles.

Aside from these lovely physical changes, I think something really good happened in my forties.

A certain freedom begins to take hold in my psyche. Fitting in just isn't that important any more. Who cares if you're not dressed like everyone else?

Take today, for example. Since its Saturday, I just don my favorite shirt and shorts and flip-flop to work because it's comfortable and I really didn't feel like changing into some dressy outfit that would be scratchy and stiff. The result? Bliss.

There's no doubt that being forty-something has given me the courage to stop wearing stuff I don't like. Moreover, being forty has given me the courage to stop throwing away my precious free time on things or people I don't enjoy.

If you're past forty, do you feel the same freedom? From what?

Lenten reflections.

The whole Christian community is observing the Lenten Season. You see, we are a predominantly Catholic nation, hence we strictly follow the programs of the Vatican.

But why is Filipino Catholicism distant from my everyday life?

I think, foremost is the matter of language. I admit that I feel more comfortable praying the “Our Father” in English. Perhaps it is unique to my generation which was taught predominantly in English. But I find that English is most efficient only because it is intellectual — and that is a problem.

Prayer should be more than just thinking - it is about reaching into our inner soul and reconnecting with some ineffable presence there. Personally, I feel that English ties me down to praying with the mind when I should be praying with my entire being. In the classroom we were taught to “recite” in English but speak in Filipino. English somehow intellectualizes worship when the point of the whole exercise is to humble the mind.

Second, is the metaphor of the Catholic faith. Frankly, I wonder what other Filipino Catholics visualizes when they recite “Lamb of God.” The lamb as a metaphor can only be meaningful to pastoral communities who ate and lived among sheep. But hey, Filipinos see lambs only in zoos and on the dinner plates of the rich as lamb chops! I know, i know... worshipful verses are meant to be figurative and never literal. But then metaphors work better if they bear some link to the reality that we live.

I also kind of wonder how Catholicism thrived in my country for over three centuries despite bizarre scenarios. The Mass used to be celebrated in Latin, no matter that no one but the priest understood what on earth he was saying. It used to be that hymns were likewise in Latin, sung by choirmasters. It also used to be that the priest turned his back to the faithful for most of the Mass — after all, he was there to talk to God, so what’s the point of facing God’s people?

Today however, the Mass is celebrated in the language of the common folk. We sing our own songs. And the priest actually talks to us the whole time.

On a practical note, I think the ministry must find ways to make the churches more comfortable despite the summer heat. Going into a crowded church in April is the best way to remind oneself about the proverbial “fires of hell”.

You might ask: Christ was crucified on the cross and you can’t even stand one hour without air-conditioned comfort?

Well, the Christian calendar is universal, and that is why Easter is a spring holiday for the northern hemisphere when their weather is at its most glorious, while for us at the equator, it coincides with the onset of the summer when the heat is most oppressive. If the Pope lived in Manila, I think he would schedule Easter in November and celebrate Christmas in February.

That’s just me reflecting though...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Going nuts over irritating things.

Ok since we are on the roll of listing things, I thought of listing down those things that can be irritating to me.

Everyone has something that irritates them to no end, but some things can be more irritating than others and here are the things that really boils my temperature.

Talking in a language that a person in the group does not understand:
You must have experienced this sometime or the other. I find it rude when people is rambling away in a tongue that I don't understand. And when they laugh, you'd think 'Is the joke on me'? It is disconcerting and insensitive. Even if one person has problem understanding the language, switch to a common tongue!

Spitting on the road:
It also pisses me off to see a guy driving a Lexus, clad in an expensive suit who opened the door of his car at the traffic light and spat a few liters of Pan spittle. I was disgusted! Remember people, education without civic sense is useless. You could be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, but if you spit on the roads, you are nothing but a piece of dirt and you will end up in hell, tied to a chair, facing a diarrhea-stricken Skunk's behind.

Reading what's on my PC screen:
I have had people reading out what was on my screen, while I glared at them in disgust, anger, and shock. A half-decent person would not do it. People who invade privacy should be dumped, half-naked, in Alaska, preferably during the mating season of Polar bears.

Cutting the queue:
You must have noticed these smart asses walking ahead of you in the line at the ticketing booth. Talking non-stop to his friend and not even looking at you. Yeah? And then when you tell him, "excuse me but there's a ****ing line here"? and he'd go "oh! I am so sorry!" Don't trust these guys. It is an elaborate ploy to cut the queue - the talk with the friend and avoiding your eye. These guys should be dropped in boiling vegetable oil.

Letting the hand-phone ring in meetings and movie houses:
I have nothing to say about these people. I am glad I am not their boss. I'd probably make them clean the public toilets in the city bus station. With their heads.

Calling a waiter by snapping the fingers or whistling:
Guys, if you do that then you're not a good human being and god will not let you gate crash into his party and all that. But there's a better reason why you should not insult a waiter or treat him like he is your doormat: they can pee in your food and you won't even know it. Scary, huh! So keep your attitude where it belongs and be a courteous guy. Any way that girl's going to dump you, so, why try to impress her by pissing off the waiter?

Computer virus.
The worse kind of irritation is getting a computer virus that causes the computer to freeze up, slow down or crash all together. You wonder why the anti-virus program installed doesn't catch it and stop it from entering the computer. It's not only irritating, but its uncool. I can't blog and the world is crumbling on me. Help!!

How about you, what makes you go nuts?


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