Tuesday, December 30, 2014


The Left-leaning website, thinkprogress.org is not on my list of "must reads". I was recently led to the site, however, while looking for information on Pope Francis' upcoming encyclical on climate change. "Progressive" publications and websites are generally not complimentary toward the Catholic Church; the Church's view on climate change being the one notable exception.

Most of what I've come across lately, concerning the Pope and other Catholic Bishops, with regard to climate change has been encouraging. I'll go further into that subject in a later post, but for now, I want to write about thinkprogress.org's general assessment of the Catholic Church.

On the website's menu bar, we find nine sections - not counting the "Front" or Home page. These sections include, Climate, Economy, Health, Justice, LGBT (of course) World, Culture, Sports, and Election. In the same issue where I came across the article, Pope Francis Expected To Instruct One Billion Catholics To Act On Climate Change, I found no less than five additional articles on the Catholic Church. In the nine sections listed above, I found an article in all but three.

Any positive feelings toward the Church that might have been found in the piece on climate change was wiped away in the anti-Knights of Columbus article, How One Religious Organization Bankrolls America’s Social Conservative Movement. That the KoC would support the Church's teachings on abortion and same sex "marriage" is beyond the "brights" who write for thinkprogress.org. The site isn't called thinkthingsthrutotheirlogicalconclusion.org, after all.

In the article, New Catholic Survey Asks About People With ‘Homosexual Tendencies’ writer Jack Jenkins has to put in the old, “who am I judge?” comment. Progressives are so predictable.

In the Economy section, they speak highly of the Pope again by pointing out that Francis celebrated his birthday by giving sleeping bags to homeless people. They also have to mention, of course, that there was some "internal opposition in the Vatican" to his helping the homeless.

Finally, in Health writer Sam P.K. Collins' article, Low-Gluten Diet Alternatives Have Reached A New Frontier: The Catholic Church, there is absolutely no understanding of - or sympathy for - the Church's teachings on the Blessed Sacrament.

In an earlier post, I wrote of "my desire to get as many POV's as I could when trying to get the ends and outs of a variety of stories". Be that as it may, a link to thinkprogress.org will not be added to my News Sources column on the right.

Tropical Storm Seniang.

For those looking for news on Tropical Storm Jangmi (AKA Seniang), check my other blog, Dumaguetewebsite.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Adios, Washington Post and Sydney Morning Herald.

In what might be loosely considered an update from an earlier post, I want to comment on the "News Sources" links listed in the far right column.

Since placing the links there, I've had to make a few changes to the list. Sadly, I've had to remove the links to two newspapers, The Washington Post and Sydney Morning Herald.

I'm afraid that both papers have begun limiting the number of free articles that can be read on their websites each month. I want to get news from a wide variety of sources, but I haven't found anything on either website that would warrant my paying for the "privilege" of getting their version of the news. There are just too many free news sites on the Internet. I understand that we all need money, but the traditional newspaper is dead and companies like The Washington Post and Sydney Morning Herald need to accept that.

Sunday, December 28, 2014


There are only a few days left in this year. It's the time,commonly set aside for looking back on what we've accomplished......or failed to accomplish, as the case may be.

It's become a tradition, of sorts, for me to publish a post around New Year's Day, giving a list of the books I've read in the year just ending. I've done this for 2011, 2012 and 2013. As there are still a couple of more days in 2014, I should be able to finish the book I'm currently reading before the New Year's deadline. The total number read in 2014 is more than 2012 and 2013 combined. Retirement has it's benefits - no pun intended.

Another landmark for 2014 is that, for the first time, all the books read this year were eBooks; there's not a single printed book on the list.

As mentioned in a post from August, I somehow managed to damage my Kindle on the trip here from the U.S.. Fortunately, I had purchased a Kindle for my son before moving to Philippines. I was able to keep up with my reading via his Kindle, but I don't really want to "hog" his Kindle; I want him to become a lover of books too. In order to read eBooks while he's on the Kindle, I downloaded the Kindle app to my android. This works out OK, except for one thing. While I can download eBooks which I've purchased from Amazon on either device, I haven't found a way to read eBooks from Project Gutenberg on the android. It may be possible to do so, though I don't know how to do it.

I have managed to get around that problem another way. I've downloaded the FBReader app onto the android and now eBooks from Project Gutenberg can be uploaded to their website and stored onto my Google Drive.Now,it's safe to say that I can read whatever I like, whenever I like. (another advantage of using either the Kindle or FBReader app on the android is the light coming from the phone makes for easier reading than on the regular Kindle).

I don't care for either e-reader when used on a PC. I've gotten over not having the feel of turning paper pages, but I don't believe I could ever get over not being able to hold the device in my hands.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Lawmaker Stands By Bill Requiring Man’s Consent for Abortion

In the far-right corner of this blog, one will find a series of links listed under News Sources. Most of the links featured are not to American news websites.

The reason behind my choices of sources has to do with my desire to get as many POV's as I could when trying to get the ends and outs of a variety of stories. Obviously, a story as reported on FoxNews or CNN might have a different slant when viewed on Aljazeera or Sputnik US. In some cases, stories found on BBC or on an Australian news outlet might not even appear on an American website.

One particular case in point involves the reporting of Missouri lawmaker Rick Brattin's introduction of Missouri State House Bill 131 which would require that "no abortion shall be performed or induced unless and until the father of the unborn child provides written,notarized consent to the abortion,except in cases in which the woman upon whom the abortion is to be performed or induced was the victim of rape or incest and the pregnancy resulted from the rape or incest".

The American press [ kfor.com and kansascity.com for example] choose to paint Brattin's bill as an attempt to restrict women's Rights.

" 'It’s simply demeaning and degrading to women. We, and most of the voters in Missouri, believe that women can make their own decisions both about their lives generally and about their healthcare specifically,' said Laura McQuad, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and mid-Missouri."

The same story, as presented by the Russian newsite,us.sputniknews adds something left out in the U.S. reporting.

"When Missouri lawmaker Rick Brattin found out he was required to have his wife’s consent for his own vasectomy, he thought about how 'twisted' it is that the same rule does not apply to women seeking an abortion."

us.sputniknews quotes Brattin, by way of Mother Jones,

"When a man goes in for that procedure—at least in the state of Missouri—you have to have a consent form from your spouse in order to have that procedure done," he told Mother Jones. "Here I was getting a normal procedure that has nothing to do with another human being's life, and I needed to get a signed form…But on ending a life, you don't. I think that's pretty twisted."

As someone who agrees with the Catholic Church's condemnation of vasectomies, I can understand the reasoning behind a law requiring a wife's consent before a man can have a vasectomy. I do, however, see Brattin's point. I've always disagreed with the idea that a man doesn't have a say in the abortion of his own child.

I'm sure that the biased American media will succeed in painting Rick Brattin as a far-Right wing, anti-choice kook. Knowing America as well as I do, I know that abortion on demand will continue to be the law of the land. It would be nice, however, if while defending abortion, the media could, at least present an accurate description of both sides of the argument.

I won't hold my breathe.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Sleeper 13 Anti-Gun PSA.

From dailycaller.com:

A provocative public service announcement released by a San Francisco-based production company encourages children to put themselves at risk and commit a slew of crimes by stealing their parents’ guns from home and turning them in at school.

The PSA shows a boy, in his early teens, sneaking into his mother's bedroom and taking a handgun from her drawer. The boy takes the handgun to school, where at the end of the PSA, he hands over the gun to his teacher, saying, "Can you take this away? I don’t feel safe with a gun in my house.”

The Sleeper 13 Productions ad’s director, Rejina Sencic went even further by posting this taunt on Twitter, "Lot of people are afraid to share my PSA! If you are not a coward please share."

Of course, I wanted to judge the provocative PSA for myself, but sadly, Ms. Sencic's own cowardice was making it difficult - if not impossible - for me to share her video.

Attempting to watch her video on Youtube via the links provided, told me that the video was "private".

It occurred to me that, if Sleeper 13 Productions had their own Twitter account, they would also have a Facebook page. That search enabled me to watch the PSA on a different Youtube account. My first thought was to provide the link to that account's video, but I'm certain that, like the Twitter account video, this one found on Facebook would soon become "private" as well.

But, where there's a will, there's a way. I downloaded the video, turned around and uploaded it to my Youtube account.

So, here is the video which Ms.Sencic believed we might be too cowardly to share.

Check out this opinion piece from The Washington Times: A video against gun violence misses the target by a mile.

'The Interview' will be in theaters Christmas Day

Perhaps the good folks at Sony Pictures Entertainment have followed Jonah Goldberg's sage advice and have gotten over their hoden angst concerning the release of  The Interview . As defined by Goldberg, “Hoden” in German means “testicles.” Angst means fear, worry, anxiety.

According to Aljazeera America, Sony Pictures Entertainment has announced a limited theatrical release of  The Interview beginning Thursday, putting the comedy back into theaters.

Hollywood could go one step further.

In 2006, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences displayed their, uh, Hoden Liebe by giving Brokeback Mountain  three Academy Awards. A true display of Hollywood's having lost their hoden angst would be by making a similar gesture towards The Interview by giving that film an equal number of awards. It would matter little whether or not the film actually deserved to win an Academy Award on it cinematic achievements.

It's the thought that counts, you know.

North Korean Internet Goes Down.

In a recent article, [ No Superheroes in The Interview Cave-In ] Jonah Goldberg laments that America's response to the computer hackers who attacked Sony Pictures Entertainment and were "clearly henchmen for the North Korean regime", has been less than heroic.

It's pathetic when the most heroic response to the -so called- “Guardians of the Peace,” and their threat to bomb movie theaters, was Obama's comment that people should go to the movies.

In his newsletter, Goldberg suggests that our only honorable response to the North Koreans would have been, “Go f**k yourself.”

I couldn't agree more.

Now, according to asia.nikkei.com, the U.S. may have done just that - in a passively aggressive manner, of course.

North Korea's Internet connection has been spotty since Friday, raising speculation that the U.S. government may have launched a cyberattack in reprisal for Pyongyang's alleged hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

The article goes on to say that President Obama had earlier promised a "proportional response." Some are now speculating that a denial-of-service attack against North Korea was the proportional response promised.

Of course, not everyone believes that the U.S. government is responsible for the cyber attack against North Korea. The New York Times suggested that North Korea cut off the country's Internet connection itself to prevent a cyberattack against it.

According to bbc.co.uk,

The sole route for the internet into North Korea is through China. It may be that if the United States was behind the attack, China helped or at least turned a blind eye.

But we are in the realms of wild speculation now.

Was the attack worth it? According to Chang Yong Seok, an expert on North Korea at Seoul National University, a cyber attack on North Korea would not cause serious disruption and so be an exercise in futility.

"Even if their internet is shut down, the inconvenience will be shared only by members of the power elite."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Indian Court Allows Dead Guru to 'Meditate'.

On January 29, 2014, spiritual guru Ashutosh Maharaj, founder and head of the Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan (Divine Light Awakening Mission), suffered a heart attack and was declared clinically dead by a team of doctors. Many of his followers, however, believe him to be in a state of deep meditation (samadhi) and have won a court battle delaying his cremation until February 9, 2015.

According to Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan spokesman Swami Vishalanand, his followers are waiting for Ashutosh to awaken and end his nearly year long meditation.

"Mahara-ji is still sending messages through followers in their meditative stage to protect his body till he returns," he said.

One might ask, how it is that, if the guru were indeed dead - and not in samadhi - why his body has not decayed during these past 10 months?

No miracle there. Ashutosh's body has been in a freezer since his death.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Scalia: Constitution Doesn’t Prohibit Torture.

Put no trust in princes, in children of Adam powerless to save.

Psalm 146:3

I should have known better.

I had always looked upon Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as someone who takes his Catholicism seriously, and therefore someone who would set the standard for the Supreme Court.

After learning of Scalia's recent interview on Swiss National Radio,I've changed my opinion. Contrary to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states that torture is a sin under all circumstances, Scalia said,"I don't think it's so clear at all."

"I think it is very facile for people to say 'Oh, torture is terrible,'" he said. "You posit the situation where a person that you know for sure knows the location of a nuclear bomb that has been planted in Los Angeles and will kill millions of people."

The idea that torturing someone to prevent a nuclear explosion may appeal to others, and while Scalia agrees, he does not believe that information that a carload of terrorists heading to Los Angeles with an atomic bomb would be enough to justify police stopping the car, if the tip came from an anonymous source.

"I want you to say, 'Let the car go. Bye-bye, LA,'" Scalia said.

So, in his view, cops cannot stop a car driven by folks who might blow up LA in a nuclear explosion, if the cops' information comes from an anonymous source, but it's OK to torture the same guys to stop the bomb.

As it turned out, in a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court went against Scalia's contention that a car cannot be pulled over because of an anonymous tip. No word from the Supreme Court as to whether the drivers can be tortured.

The Warren/Clinton Slugfest.

It's a heartwarming headline:Elizabeth Warren poses a challenge to Hillary in 2016.

Getting the opportunity to vote against either of these two would almost be enough to make me renege on my earlier statement about never voting in an American election again.  Seeing the Warren/Clinton slugfest may well turn out to be the highlight of the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign.

Both candidates' supporters have already created websites for their particular favorite. Videos in support of the two have been produced and uploaded to Youtube.

As excruciatingly painful as it is to watch the Stand With Hillary video, the Run Liz Run video has to be the worse thing put on video - or film - since Plan Nine From Outer Space.

If I were a Hillary Clinton supporter, I would make every effort to make Run Liz Run go viral.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


As an expatriate who will probably never vote in another American election, some might argue that I have no business commenting on American politics. Maybe so. However, it is difficult for me to not comment on the recent report from the Senate Intelligence Committee concerning the CIA and torture.

My response is really fairly simple and straight forward. Paragraph 2297 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly states -
"Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity".
 The use of torture is contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church. No exceptions.

On this, writer Mark Shea are in agreement. As a conservative, you cannot use Charles Krauthammer as a defense witness for your support of torture. As much as I might find some of Krauthammer's thoughts close to brilliant, he is not Catholic and his ideas on torture are as sinful as his thoughts on abortion.

As I said, on the sinfulness of torture, Mark Shea and I are in agreement, but there is something about his recent rants against conservative Catholics that rubs me the wrong way. Perhaps, he isn't quite expressing himself well, but Shea has a particular dislike for "conservative" Catholics and he appears to relish this opportunity to tar an entire group for the sins of a few, so-called, "pro-life Catholics" who have defended torture.

I agree that these particular Catholics were in serious error when they either defended torture or looked the other way, but I feel as if many conservative Catholics were splattered with paint when Shea threw his proverbial bucket of scarlet paint upon the guilty.

As one commenter on Shea's blog, going under the name Jassuz8, wrote,

"I hope you keep trying to raise awareness for this and all pro-life issues. But, I also hope that you transition to a more constructive, uplifting approach...now that you seem to have everyone's attention."

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Ready Or Not............

Via Daniel Harper at The Weekly Standard : 300 Former Obama Staffers Urge Elizabeth Warren to Run for President.

"A group of more than 300 hundred former Obama staffers have written an open letter urging Elizabeth Warren to run for president of the United States. 'We helped elect Barack Obama — now we’re calling on Elizabeth Warren to run in 2016,' the letter is titled."

Of course, the group has their own website and Facebook page - Ready For Warren.com.

Sadly, it appears that no one informed the group that their Democrat competition has already beaten them with their own Ready For Hillary website. In addition to the website, the RFH group is ready with Ready For Hillary merchandise. The Ready For Hillary Hoodie should go well with your Guy Fawkes mask, for that special protest.

One wonders which of the two groups will be the first to call on Sponge Bob Squarepants as a spokesperson.

Bar Manager Faces Prison for Insulting Buddhism.

Philip Blackwood, general manager of the VGastro bar in Myanmar faces up to two years in prison after he insulted Buddhism by depicting Buddha wearing headphones in a promotional poster for an event at the bar.

Police arrested Blackwood on Wednesday, along with the bar's owner, Tun Thurein, and another employee, Htut Ko Ko Lwin.

According to the Big Story, the image, posted online, was a "psychedelic image" of a "neon pink Buddha wearing DJ-style headphones".

Blackwood should consider himself lucky. Two years in prison certainly beats the 20 years he could have received had he kicked ol Buddha's gong.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Australian Press link Sexual Abuse to Celibacy.

According to a number of news sources in both Australia and the UK, in Australia, the Truth, Justice and Healing Council of the Catholic Church has released it's "Activity Statement". The two main points given in the majority of these news reports are - 1) celibacy may be linked to sexual abuse - and 2) the progress report by the Truth, Justice and Healing Council of the Catholic Church is at direct odds with a report by the Catholic Church in the United States that denied any link between child abuse and celibacy.

Naturally, any unbiased evaluation of sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic Church would have to include a study of both reports.

The Australian report can be found here.
The American report can be found here.

This post is not intended to a detailed analysis of both reports. I've included the links so that readers of this post can make their own evaluation. However, I would be remiss if I did not mention some of my thoughts on the two reports.

The report by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is a 152 page document reporting on "The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010" and deals specifically with the causes of the abuse.

The Australian report is a 44 page document which attempts to cover several points - and not exclusively on the causes of sexual abuse.

The only mention I found dealing with the causes of sexual abuse by priests come on page 23 of the report.

"Culture and clericalism .
Throughout the public hearings and as the Council has engaged with stakeholders, many issues have been raised about the Church’s culture and the way in which it may have played a part in contributing to child sexual abuse within the Church.

There has also been much discussion about the impact of ’clericalism‘, which can be understood as referring to approaches or practices involving ordained ministry geared to power over others, not service to others. Clericalism has been seen as a contributing factor to the way in which the Church has responded to abuse claims and engaged with survivors. It may be seen as having played a part in the following:
• historically Church leaders seemed to have responded virtually identically to complaints of child sexual abuse
• Church institutions and their leaders, over many decades, seemed to turn a blind eye, either instinctively or deliberately, to the abuse happening within their diocese or religious order, protecting the institution rather than caring for the child
• historically, parents were reluctant to believe their children and did not confront Church leaders about allegations of abuse
• obedience and closed environments also seem to have had a role in the prevalence of abuse within some religious orders and dioceses
• another contributor may have been the way in which candidates for the priesthood or religious life were accepted for entry, and
• obligatory celibacy may also have contributed to abuse in some circumstances."

From one sentence in the 44 page report - "obligatory celibacy may also have contributed to abuse in some circumstances" - the press reports, "Celibacy may be linked to sexual abuse, Catholic Church concedes".

The headlines from the Australian and British news sources will give "ammunition" to those wishing to put an end to priestly celibacy in the Catholic Church. It's unlikely that those folks will bother to read any report that contradicts their opinion. All I can do is make the report available.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Kabul's Bare-Legged Woman.

To paraphrase the Frank Zappa song, Big Leg Emma, there's a big dilemma about a barelegged woman, uh-huh, oh yeah .

The photos of Kabul's barelegged woman, taken by Afghan journalist Hayat Ensafi, hasn't caused so much as a ripple in the U.S., but the Australian news sites appear to be in love with the story.

I first came across the story of the young woman who has sent shock waves through Afghanistan, via The Sydney Morning Herald, but a Google search of 'Hayat Ensafi' reveals the story has found a home on news.com.au, 9news.com.au and dailylife.com.au as well.

According to the Afghani journalist who took the photos, the woman was walking very quickly and would not speak to him when he tried to engage her in conversation. The talk in Afghanistan is whether the woman was making a political statement, or merely mentally unbalanced.

The Australian news sites maintain that the photos have gone 'viral', but I'd have to question that. Although everyone in Kabul is talking about the woman, the photos certainly haven't gone viral in Afghanistan, where internet usage is practically non-existent.

Monday, December 8, 2014

You Go Uruguay, I'll Go Mine.

Checking bbc news and aljazeera.com, I learned that six Guantanamo prisoners have resettled in Uruguay. There was no mention of the release on CNN, Fox or Drudge. I was beginning to believe that the story was going to be completely ignored by America news outlets, until I discovered articles on the transfer on the Washington Post and the Washington Times.

Prior to this story, my knowledge of Uruguay was pretty much, well, nothing. So, wishing to increase my knowledge of the country, I searched for information about the current president of Uruguay, José Mujica. For the most part, he seems like a man after Obama's heart. Mujica has called Guantanamo a "disgrace" and has used Guantanamo to bash George Bush. Being a typical politician, Mujica delayed bringing the prisoners into Uruguay until after the country's recent elections - an October opinion poll showed 58% of Uruguayans were opposed to bringing in the prisoners.

On the plus side, Mujica does not live in the Presidential palace, but on his wife's farm where the couple cultivate chrysanthemums. Called by some, the world's poorest president, Mujica donates about 90% of his monthly salary to charities which benefit poor people and small entrepreneurs. This leaves his take-home pay inline with the average Uruguayan income - $775 a month. I can't imagine any U.S. President, Democrat or Republican, doing the same.

On the negative side, Mujica supports abortion.

Not surprisingly, Mujica has stated on a left-wing Spanish television station, that he is an atheist.

As for the photo, due to Mujica’s efforts to legalize marijuana in Uruguay, the president has won the praise of Aerosmith's Steven Tyler.

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Dr. Death visits Auschwitz.

Dr Wims Distelmans, who practices euthanasia in a Brussels clinic, wishing to ‘clarify confusion’ (whatever that means) led a group, consisting of doctors, psychologists and nurses from Belgium, (most of whom also work in the area of euthanasia) to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.

Naturally, Jewish and anti-euthanasia campaigners have reacted with horror, saying the trip, billed as a study tour, is ‘offensive and shocking’.

At one point during the trip, while in Krakow, the members of the group received name-tags. From Der Spiegel:

"Distelmans pins his name-tag to his T-shirt, places his scarf on top of it, and pulls his jacket over his scarf. 'I don't know if I have any opponents here,' he says. Before the trip, a picture of him appeared on Google. Someone had doctored the image and put an SS uniform over his sweater."

I was more than happy to locate the photo and post it here.

In a story overflowing with irony, one portion stands out. At one point, the group discusses "the case of a colleague in the group who asked if he is allowed to kill a Nazi. The patient in question is paralyzed on one side and is a former member of the Waffen-SS. In fact, a portrait of Hitler hangs over his sofa. The colleague refused to perform euthanasia because he doesn't feel the Nazi deserves a painless, gentle death".

All through the article, we were told that those advocating euthanasia wanted to give the patient control over his or her own death. Doctors shouldn't prolong life out of a sense of control and a desire for power over the patient, we're told. Yet, here we have the very same doctors maintaining that certain individuals don't deserve "a painless, gentle death".

Distelmans, however feels differently that his colleagues. "He says that he would do it out of respect for the man's pain and humanity -- as an act of unconditional love."

Some might say he simply would never pass an opportunity to kill someone.

Typhoon Ruby 3.

As I write this, it is 7:02, Sunday morning. It appears that our area is out of danger. Typhoon Ruby has a more northerly path than originally predicted, and while other areas of Philippines have been hit hard, it looks as if we've been spared, for the most part.

The typhoon will be making landfall in Masbate this morning - approximately 300 miles to the north of us. I feel confident in saying that the worse is over for Negros Oriental.

People in other parts of the country, however, are still in need of our prayers.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Typhoon Ruby 2.

Although the predictions are that the worst of Typhoon Ruby will pass north of us, we will not be spared from heavy rain and winds. As I write this, it's Friday AM here and while the typhoon isn't expected to hit land until sometime Saturday, it has already started raining. The wind has picked up, though nowhere near as fast as it is forecast.

As mentioned earlier, we have supplies......rice, bottled water, canned food and LP gas. There was a report on the TV earlier this morning that there could be storm surges in Sibulan. My wife has asked me to locate our important papers - passports and the like - in case flooding makes us evacuate the house. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Super Typhoon Hagupit Threatens Philippines Including Areas Vulnerable After Haiyan.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Typhoon Ruby.

Tropical storm "Hagupit" is headed our way and is expected to hit Philippines sometime Saturday. According to PAGASA Deputy Administrator Dr. Landrico Dalida, Jr.,there is a 75% chance that the storm will hit land, and 25% of it changing track and heading northward.

Once the storm enters the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) it will be referred to as typhoon Ruby. Indications are that Ruby will be a "super" typhoon with maximum sustained winds of 160 kph, and gusts of up to 190 kph.

Forty-four provinces were declared critical areas by the National Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Council (NDRRMC) and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration(PAGASA). While the province I live in (Negros Oriental) is listed among the 44 critical provinces, the province in most danger is Eastern Samar where typhoon Yolanda - AKA Haiyan - caused extensive damage last year.

We're getting prepared. We've stocked up on the essentials - bottled water, rice, canned food and LP gas. We're hoping that our worst problem will be disruption of electricity. Even with the strong winds and rain, the house, which is built from concrete blocks, should be OK. God willing, we won't experience flooding in our area.

Of course, in today's world, we can't talk about typhoons - super or otherwise - without mention of climate change. A German think-tank, Germanwatch, announced from Lima, Peru that "Philippines, Cambodia and India were most affected by extreme weather events in 2013."

“We all remember the images of the catastrophic Typhoon Haiyan, which wiped out entire regions and took the lives of more than 6000,” said Sönke Kreft, author of the study and Team Leader for International Climate Policy at Germanwatch. “It was the most severe tropical storm ever to make landfall."

In Climate Change circles, super typhoons, such as Yolanda and Ruby, are called "extreme weather events". While I make no claims to be a scientist, it's difficult to imagine that these "extreme weather events" are not brought about by climate change. The questions that remain are, how much of this climate activity is caused by humans and what can we do about it?

There was a good deal of chin wagging and patting on backs after China and the US pledged last month to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Now, the Chinese maintain "that progress is likely to be stymied by differences between the developed and developing world - with the US the main culprit".

I'm not putting much hope in humans being able to deal with this.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever.

We had heard rumors that there might be a "super typhoon" headed our way, so I took to the Internet to check various websites for any reliable information. After going to a weather website, a typhoon update website and three Filipino news sites, I've concluded that the rumor had no truth behind it. I couldn't find anything related to any sort of typhoon - super or otherwise - headed toward us in the foreseeable future.

While on the abs-cbnnews website, I thought I'd check out the latest news in Philippines.

One story that caught my attention was Swiss arrested for trafficking, child abuse. I like to keep up to date on stories involving foreigners here.Before coming to Philippines the first time, I never expected that there would be so many Germans, Swiss and Australians living in the country.

The article linked to above is rather short, so I'll post it here :

"By Jessee Atienza, ABS-CBN News Central Visayas
Posted at 11/30/2014 1:34 PM | Updated as of 12/01/2014 12:21 AM

CEBU – A Swiss national was arrested Saturday in Sta. Fe, Bantayan island in Cebu by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for his alleged involvement in human trafficking and child abuse.
The suspect was identified as Walter Hauck, who has been residing in Barangay Talisay for two years, having settled there after his retirement.
A joint operation by the NBI, the Children's Legal Bureau and the Provincial Women's Commission (PWC) led to the rescue of five minors from Hauck's residence.
Heda Largo, a consultant of the PWC, said there were some sex toys found inside Hauck's house.
The five minors are now in the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development where they will undergo legal processes.
Huck is being detained at the NBI Region 7 office, where he will undergo further investigation. He is expected to be presented to the media on Monday".

Further into the website, I found another article concerning the Swiss, though not those in Philippines:
Swiss urged to stop eating cats on Christmas day.

Surely, I thought, this can't be a real story. Perhaps it was just some Filipino working for ABS-CBN getting back at the Swiss because of the despicable actions of the Swiss national in Sta. Fe, Bantayan. I can't imagine that the Swiss actually eats cats on Christmas Day.

Taking to Google, I found this link:
Animal rights group calls for new law - to stop Swiss eating CATS on Christmas Day.

It's hard to imagine that I had never heard anything about the Swiss tradition of eating dogs and cats.

The story has even made it's way to the bbc.co.uk website, which says:

" 'Around three percent of the Swiss secretly eat cat or dog,' said Tomi Tomek, founder and president of animal protection group SOS Chats Noiraigue.
Cat appears on traditional Christmas menus in some areas of Switzerland.
It is often cooked for the festive season in a similar way to rabbit - with white wine and garlic.
'We especially see it in the regions of Lucerne, Appenzell, Jura and in the canton of Bern,' said Tomek.
Dog meat goes mostly into making sausages and a fatty remedy for rheumatism".

On 29 November 2014, Lifetime  released a made for TV movie, "Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever". I haven't seen the movie, but I'm curious to see if Grumpy Cat spends any part of Christmas in Switzerland.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Idiotic Americans.

After being given "inconsistent, fabricated or provably wrong" testimonies, the grand jury investigating the Michael Brown killing in Fegurson, MO. had no other choice but to refuse to indict Officer Darren Wilson. According to AP reports, "the grand jury had to weigh testimony that conflicted with physical evidence and conflicting statements by witnesses as it decided whether Wilson should face charges".

Sometime TIME contributor,Darlena Cunha believes, however, that the rioters in Ferguson were justified in destroying the property of innocent store owners. To believe otherwise is to be a racist, due in large part to your inherent white privilege.

That Liberals like Cunha should hold such opinions is hardly surprising; TIME is giving us the option to vote for the Ferguson rioters for Person of the Year this time around.

Even if the grand jury had failed to indict the police officer because it was made up of racists, how can that justify the rioters destroying the Advance Auto Parts and Fashion R stores on West Florissant Avenue just south of Chambers Road, or the Missouri church attended by Michael Brown's father?

Billy Talen, who leads the group, "Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir" is calling on Americans to take part in "blackout Black Friday" and boycott major retailers nationwide. I'm not quite sure how someone boycotting a mall in GA or NY is doing anything to harm the police in Ferguson MO.

America is slowly, but surely quickly heading straight down hill. The people who inhabit that once great country, are absolute idiots.....no question about it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tyvärr, är alla smart namn tas.

I'm sure that it might appear that I'm receiving some sort of kick-back from Avast with my continual praise for the company's SecureLine VPN. Maybe I should, but I'm not; I genuinely like the product. I can't say if theirs is the best one available.....I haven't tried them all..... but I can't say enough about how well I enjoy having a VPN.

A year ago, while living in the States, when I didn't need a VPN to access Netflix, I came upon Henning Mankell's Wallander . I had learned of the Kurt Wallander character earlier via the British adaptation of the Swedish crime drama that was also shown on PBS. After watching the entire British version on Netflix, I began watching the Swedish original.....with English subtitles, of course.

At the time, the Swedish series consisted of two seasons, with 13 episodes in each seasons. For reasons I don't understand, Netflix was not making season 1 available. Sadly, I had to make do with only season 2.

A few days ago, I received an email from Netflix letting me know that season 3 of the series was now available. Now, Netflix has seasons 2 & 3, but still no season 1.

Before watching the third season, I thought I'd switch my VPN server to London and find out if Neflix in the UK had anything different than Neflix in the US. Sure enough, British Neflix has seasons 1 and 2 - but no season 3.

I thought it best to go ahead and watch the 13 episodes of season 1 while I could. As I write this, I've watched 11 of the 13 episodes. The question remains, however - do I go directly to season 3 when I've finished? I've found two more foreign TV crime dramas on the British Netflix that I'm eager to watch; the Danish/Swedish series, The Bridge , and the original Danish series from which the American The Killing was based, Forbrydelsen.

I'm not sure why the Scandinavians are producing such high quality crime dramas - let's not forget The Millennium series and Annika Bengtzon. A quote from an article on the Brits love of Scandiavian crime dramas, sums it up, I think;

“What I think the Scandi drama does utterly brilliantly is that it takes a serialised narrative, and twists and twists and twists it, so that you feel hooked at every single moment.”

As for the title of this post, "Tyvärr är alla smart namn tas"; That's the name of this blog in Swedish.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Nothing To See Here.

According to NPR, one of my favorite writers, "Conservative critic Jonah Goldberg says he's inspired to write when he gets annoyed."

That may go a long way to explaining why I've done so little work on this blog recently. There's very little now that gets me so annoyed as to motivate me to write a zinging blog post. Sure, I still get pissed at 99% of the things our current POTUS says and does, but because I'm living half a planet away from the U.S., I just don't feel the urgency to voice my opinion of him.

Besides, I'm reasonably certain that anyone interested in reading what I have to say already knows where I stand vis a vis our Narcissist-in-Chief.

After reading the NPR article referenced to in the previous link, I made an effort to scour the Internet for something  to piss me off. Everything I've come across is just, so, ho-hum. Nothing really to get excited about.

There was a time, when going to drudgereport.com would be enough to send me over the edge. Not any longer. It's certainly not Drudge's fault. He still does his best to fill his website with links to provocative stories: "AMNESTY PLANS NEXT WEEK!" or "Russia's bombers to patrol Gulf of Mexico..." or the long winded lede, Maryland school district to strip religious names from calendar after Muslims seek recognition...

No even Facebook has been much help to me in this regard. I did have one recent post,"Is There Anyone, Anywhere, Lamer Than Janis Ian?", that was inspired by something a Liberal friend had posted on Facebook, but by and large, I haven't responded to even a small portion of the Facebook posts that are put there simply to provoke.

Is it because I've mellowed in my old age? I don't think that's it. Maybe, apathy would be a more appropriate word.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Dear Google AdWords.

For several years, I've made use of Google Adsense on my website, on my blog pertaining to the website, and of course, this blog.

Over the years, I've gained a little insight into how Google places particular ads on individual web pages, although I have to admit that often times the ads on my pages are a complete mystery to me. As I write this, I'm looking at this blog and I'm seeing an ad for some sort of food product that contains No GMOs or High Fructose corn syrup at the top of the web page and another ad for Nordic Track further down the page. What sort of "clues" regarding my audience has Google gathered from what I've written? Obviously, the common theme would be "health", but how do my posts on Janis Ian and Dr. Who manage to produce that idea?

On Facebook, I've recently received a number of ads from Google AdWords and the algorithm they use to determine those ads is equally confusing to me.

As the first screenshot shows, someone at Google AdWords appears to believe I operate a Time Travel Agency. I suppose that may be an understandable mistake on their part. I have written a couple of posts on Dr. Who (as mentioned above) and one of the categories in the Label Gadget of this blog is "Time Travel". But, no. I'm sorry, Google AdWords. These examples are not sufficient proof that I now ....or ever had.....or ever will have.....a Time Travel Agency.

As much as I'm willing to say that, maybe I might have had some hand in Google's mistake on the Time Travel thing, I have to say that I have no idea how that came to believe that I have a Unicorn farm.

Alright, my name is Robert and a lot of folks call me Bob, but honestly, I'm not the Bob that owns and operates Bob's Unicorn Farm.

If I were, I don't think I'd be giving 50% off first orders. I imagine Unicorn feed is pretty expensive and raising one to a sellable size would probably set the other Bob back beaucoup, huh, Bob.

And one last thing Google AdWords........I've never harmed a zombie in my life.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Is There Anyone, Anywhere, Lamer Than Janis Ian?

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the name, Janis Ian was a "one hit wonder" from the 1970's. Her claim to fame, is the sappy, emotionally draining, At 17 from 1975. I have to admit, I had to do a Google search for the date of the song.....I actually thought it was much older.

But, I'm not writing this post to voice my opinion on her lack of musical talent, but rather, her lack of common sense and political savvy.

I would not have given Ms. Ian a thought had not a Liberal friend posted on Facebook, a photo giving us her opinion on the recent midterm elections. The opinions expressed in the photo show her to be a typical, condescending Progressive. To her, the Americans who transformed the Congress from Democrat to Republican are little more than imbeciles incapable of judging for themselves what is in their best interest.

Going to her Facebook page, I found other photos with equally ridiculous points of view.

The second photo expresses pretty much the same condescending point as the first.

Ian calls this one - criticizing voter ID laws - a Godzilla Haiku . That Ian still uses Haiku should be a clue. I mean, is she still in 9th Grade?

The last of her posted photos wants us to believe that men do not want women to vote. Six new Republican women were elected to the US Congress this week as part of the Democrats’ staggering midterm defeat. I suppose only women voted for them.

Like far too many aging, hippie musicians, Ian can't leave the 1960's and 70's behind. She still falls for the same, tired, B.S. that we were fed fifty years ago.

Her way of thinking went out with lava lamps, black light posters and tied dyed t-shirts. Can we finally put them to rest ?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Series 8 - Episode 11.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I've been watching Series #8 of Dr Who on the BBC website, thanks to my being connected to a VPN..

I've also promised that there would be no spoilers here. You folks outside the U.K. will be able to watch the program eventually. I only wanted to make a few comments.

It's not easy streaming through a server in London when your PC is in Philippines. It's possible, but the speed goes way down, traveling that far. Going to the site via my VPN cuts the speed in half.

Consequently, I can watch the program - if I switch to "low bandwidth" setting. Still, I experience a lot of problems with buffering.

Be that as it may, I've watched 11 episodes out of the 12 in series 8. The last will be televised on Nov. 8 and I'll watch it online a couple of days afterward.

Normally, it takes me a bit to warm up to a new Doctor. It took a few episodes for me to get David Tennant after Christopher Eccleston and likewise, it took a little longer for me to like Matt Smith following Tennant. I have to say, however, I've liked Peter Capaldi from the beginning of his stint. To me, he's more like the earlier regenerations. (Is that the correct word? Maybe, pre-regenerations?).

I suppose I go along with the critics regarding Capaldi; "wise and thoughtful","all the hallmarks of a great Doctor", and "crackled with fierce intelligence and nervous energy".

What will I do when the last episode of series 8 has played? I've already gone back to Netflix and started over with the 2005 series 1 with the ninth Doctor. Maybe that will hold me until series 9.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Adios, Daylight Saving Time.....and Good Riddance.

In a few days, my friends in the U.S. will be "falling back", as they say - setting their clocks back one hour to end daylight saving time for 2014. If there is one thing I will not miss about living in the U.S., it is their idiotic clock changing stunt twice a year.

Here in Philippines, the folks leave their clocks be; there's no "spring forward - fall back". I have never liked daylight saving time and I'm so happy not to have to deal with it ever again.

There's never been any call for it here; the sun rises and sets at pretty close to the same time all year long. It isn't exact, of course. There is a slight variation, but I want to put emphasis on the word "slight". We're too close to the equator for there to be much variation through out the year.

The whole concept of DST is an illusion, anyway.

Some fools in the U.S. actually believe that it's the turning forward of the clock in Spring that gives them more "daylight" hours in the Summer. They have not idea that it's the tilt of the planet which is responsible for the increase. Moving the clock forward doesn't make the daylight longer......it only adjusts this artificial "clock" that they're programed to follow.

Before starting on this post, I Googled "daylight saving time" and came across an article with the headline, "Daylight Saving Time changes could be a thing of the past in Alabama if legislator gets his way".

I thought I was going to read about a legislator having a bit of common sense. I should have known better, seeing how this legislator comes from Alabama.

Rather than end daylight saving time, by leaving Alabama on standard time all year, this guy wants to keep Alabama on daylight saving time forever.

Alabama state Sen. Rusty Glover said in a release, "Our legislation will make sure that children riding the late afternoon school bus, or working people who get off at 5 o'clock, won't have to come home in the dark."

He doesn't seem to understand that by using DST, the folks who "get off at 5 o'clock" are actually getting off at four. He could accomplish the same thing, by leaving the clocks on standard time and getting the schools and businesses to actually change the time everyone goes home. Just have the people who get off at 5, get off at 4. They're doing that in the Summer as it is. They just don't seem to know it.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Game Seven.

About a week ago, I saw someone from the cable company, ladder up against the pole, doing some work on the cable.

A day later, we noticed that additional channels had been added to our cable package; as a matter of fact, we were now getting all the channels available from the cable company, including several Chinese language channels,  along a few  kids' stations and a number of English language news and sports networks.

 One of the new channels was I getting was Fox Sports. I found that station about the seventh inning of game 5 of the World Series. That was Monday morning, Philippine time. Game six would be on Wednesday morning in Philippines and I was really looking forward to watching the game.

Unfortunately, after getting set to watch the game, I lost the free channels. I don't know exactly what happened. I don't know why I had the stations for a few days or why the stations were no longer free.

 As it happened, I had to listen to game six on the radio via the Internet. That would have been a good one to watch. Now, I'm listening to game seven over the ESPN Radio website. Radio is OK, but it ain't TV.

 Next time I pay the cable bill, I'll check on getting Fox Sports, Fox News, BBC World news and Al Jazeera added to our package. If I'm right, it'll cost an additional 500 peso on our monthly bill. That's a little over $10 US. I guess I can handle that.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

World Changing? Yes. New? Not So Much.

From the BBC Future WORLD-CHANGING IDEAS SUMMIT website, we have this:

"On October 21, BBC FUTURE will present the first-ever WORLD-CHANGING IDEAS SUMMIT, which will showcase the power of bringing forward-thinking leaders together to build a better tomorrow."


Right off hand I'd say that the folks who bring us the TED conferences might argue that the BBC's WORLD-CHANGING IDEAS SUMMIT, may not be the first-ever.

Be that as it may, let's look at a few of the ideas which will be put forward by these "forward-thinking leaders".

Some of the topics which the event's "diverse community" will discuss include:

"Why We Need to Live On Other Planets"
"Why Everyone Needs a Drone"
"Robots Everywhere! Can’t Live with Them, Can’t Kill Them"
to list just three.

And let's not forget Rahm's older brother, Ezekiel J. Emanuel's topic, "Just Because We Can Live Longer Doesn't Mean We Should".

If you want to get up to speed on Emanuel's idea, you can read his recent article in The Atlantic, Why I Hope to Die at 75.

Unlike novelist Martin Amis, who advocates euthanasia booths for the elderly, Emanuel maintains that he is against euthanasia and says that he will not engage in euthanasia or suicide, but that he will simply give up any medical treatments after the age of 75.

He said, "I won’t actively end my life. But I won’t try to prolong it, either."

For Emanuel, "This means colonoscopies and other cancer-screening tests are out—and before 75",
and -
"After 75, if I develop cancer, I will refuse treatment. Similarly, no cardiac stress test. No pacemaker and certainly no implantable defibrillator. No heart-valve replacement or bypass surgery. If I develop emphysema or some similar disease that involves frequent exacerbations that would, normally, land me in the hospital, I will accept treatment to ameliorate the discomfort caused by the feeling of suffocation, but will refuse to be hauled off."

Basically, Emanuel believes that after a certain point, life just isn't worth the hassle. I can't understand how Emanuel can say with a straight face that his attitude won't lead to an increase in euthanasia or suicide.

For Emanuel, life just isn't worthwhile if it isn't on his terms.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Back Up and Running.

Friday evening, before going to bed, I went onto Netflix to watch reruns of some of my favorite American TV programs. As I've mentioned before, I'm able to get around Neflix' geo restrictions thanks to Avast's Secureline VPN. Unfortunately, when I got up Saturday morning, the Secureline was down. Avast was experiencing technical problems and the app was down for about three days.

It's working now.

Fortunately for me, I had already replaced my faulty keyboard and I was able to do some much needed work on my Dumaguetecity.net website, as well as my Dumaguetewebsite blog.

Now that the VPN is back up and running, I'll go to the BBC website later today and catch up on the latest Dr. Who episode. But first, I'll continue to do a bit more work on the website.

You know what they say about all play and no work.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Finally, a New Keyboard.

A few weeks ago, my on again, off again problems with the keyboard on my P.C. became completely "off". The letters qwertyuiop would not type. There was no fixing the problem. I simply had to get a new keyboard.

It was late in the month and I hadn't budgeted for a new keyboard, so even though the keyboard wouldn't take a great deal of money, I decided to wait until my next payday.

That was a few days ago, and after grocery shopping and paying those bills that had to be paid, I purchased a new keyboard.

Now, I have no excuse not to write more often - other than due to the arrangement of the bedroom furniture, I have to stand while I write.

Now, it's just a matter of coming up with something interesting.

This week, there is the Buglasan Festival in Dumaguete. We'll be going to the parade this afternoon. There will be photos.

For the most part, my comments and photos pertaining to the festival will be posted on my DumagueteWebsite blog and my dumaguetecity.net website. Both need to be updated. I've neglected those two even more than I have this blog.

Expect the updates within the next few days.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Dr. Who Series - 8. Part Two.

Perhaps it was the time of day. Or, perhaps the problem came about because it was a weekend. Whichever it was, I suspect the reason I was unable to watch any of series #8 of Dr Who had to do with the high amount of Internet traffic - either in England or in Philippines - that was causing havoc with the bandwidth available at the time.

Today, Monday AM in Philippines at eight o'clock, I attempted once again to access the programs. It was 1 AM in London. At any rate, I was able to watch episode 1.

There were a few buffering problems, but that's to be expected. I was watching the program in Standard Definition and I did not experience the sound problems of yesterday.

Everything was going well until about 5 minutes before episode 1 was to end. Then, brown out.

For about an hour, we had no electricity in Sibulan.

When the power finally returned, I was able to reconnect with the BBC website and finish the first episode. It was on to episodes 2 and 3. Other than buffering glitches occasionally, I was able to see the first three episodes today.

There are only 2 more episodes from series 8 currently available on the BBC website. Episode 6 from the series will be aired on Sept. 27th. I don't know when it will be made available for viewing on the website.

According to wikipedia, there will four episodes released in October and two in November.

Just to let you all know, there will be no spoilers coming from me.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Dr. Who - Series 8.

As mentioned in Friday's post,thanks to my being connected to a VPN, I was able to connect to the BBC website to watch live coverage of the results of the recent Scottish referendum. Afterward, I searched the site for recent Dr. Who episodes.

I found five episodes from series 8 available for viewing. I watched just for a minute or two but decided to catch up on series 7 on Netflix first.

While in the U.S., I had seen all of the first six series available on Netflix at the time. Series seven had not be available. That series can be viewed on Netflix now, so I connected to the VPN server in Seattle and watched the entire 16 episodes in 2 1/2 days.

I was ready for series 8.

I had no trouble going to the BBC website, but there now seems to be a problem loading the series. I suppose it's a bandwidth problem. HD is out of the question. Standard Definition loads - albeit slowly- but I cannot hear the program in SD.

I've tried several times this morning with no luck.

The first episode of series 8 won't be available forever. I'll just keep trying. I suppose I wouldn't be so stubborn had I not been able to watch the BBC program on Scotland so easily.

If I'm never able to watch series 8 on the BBC website, I know that one day I will be able to watch it on Neflix.

How long will that be? I don't know. Sooner or later, the BBC will sell the rights to Neflix. Why they haven't done so already is anyone's guess.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Vote in Scotland.

Thanks to my PC being connected to a VPN, I can access the BBC website without fear of being geoblocked. As I write this,it's 4:45AM in London and the top story is the vote in Scotland concerning whether or not Scotland leaves the U.K.. The results are not yet complete, but right now, the "no" vote is ahead; "yes" being a vote to leave the U.K., with "no" being a vote against Scottish independence.

As they say where I'm from,I don't have a dog in this hunt. What happens in the U.K. affects me not one bit. I have no idea which result would be better for the Scots. It makes no difference to me.

That being said, I am glued to my PC, awaiting results.

The only such vote which might affect me would be a vote for particular States in the U.S. to leave the Union, but that issue was settled over one hundred years ago. Scotland may be allowed to vote on whether or not to stay in the U.K., but the folks in Georgia, or New York, or California, don't have that option in regards to leaving the United States.

It's 5:17AM in London, and the BBC is declaring a victory for the "no" votes.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


As mentioned in an earlier post, I've been having on-again, off-again problems with my keyboard. Right now, it seems to be working fine, although I don't know how long that will last. For all I know, it could start malfunctioning again while I'm typing this.

As it's doing alright now, I'll make hay while the sun shines, if you will, and write something today to be posted Thursday.

I've even written a post on Dumaguete website blog.

I have plenty of time of my hands and there's no excuse not to keep my blogs and website up to date.

In the past, I made a point of using this blog as a place to post my political opinions. I haven't done that in quite a long time and I don't see myself going back to that any time soon. There will be no editorials on ISIL or ISIS - or whatever the popular name is today. It's an incredibly horrible situation, but I have no desire to comment of Obama's actions or lack of action, which ever the case may be.

But, then again, who can say? I may renege on what I've just written and post something concerning BHO very soon. Unfortunately, this particular blog has been a bit too free wheeling. There has never been a consistent theme - the subject matter has jumped from pillar to post.

In the past, I've thought of breaking up this blog into a number of more narrowly focused blogs. That was the case with my now defunct D'offus of the Big-Doofus and the practically defunct Immigration Reformation. But, as I've said, I have plenty of time on my hands.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Keyboard Update.

I can't figure it out.

As recorded in this blog recently, I was having a bit of a problem with the keyboard of my desktop pc. Whenever I typed an r it would come out as rt; same with t. U became uy and y did the same.

Believing the problem stemmed from the keyboard being really dirty, I did a super-cleaning on it Sunday afternoon. That didn't help. Letters were still coming out caddywhompus.

On Tuesday,just as I had resigned myself to the fact that the keyboard was "unfixable", it started working properly again. No explanation. Letters were coming out exactly as they should.

I was unable to explain how it had happened; I was just going to accept it.

Of course, one can guess what happened next.The following day, the letters were all wrong again.

OK, here's an update:

It's Wednesday AM here in Philippines. An hour ago, the keyboard was not working properly. I had to send a few messages and r was coming out rt. The letter i was still i]. I could fix all that for the emails by using my backspace key. Now, an hour later, as I write this blog post, the keyboard is working perfectly. I am writing this on Wordpad and everything is fine and dandy.

How long will this last?
Who knows?

I haven't priced new keyboards here; I'm not at all sure what one will cost. If it continues to act up, I'll have no choice but to replace it. Right now, I put off writing more often due to a lack of privacy. That won't be the case when we find a new apartment. When the time comes, I don't want a malfunctioning keyboard holding me back.

For the time being, I'll continue to spend my time reading. I believe a writer needs to open up to better writers.

There comes a time, however, when the rubber needs to meet the road.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Two Books.

Looking for something to read, I downloaded a copy of Mark Twain's  The Innocents Abroad  for the Kindle app on my Android.

The wikipedia article on the book says it was the best-selling of Twain's works during his lifetime.

I don't know why.

I've read nearly half the book, and I can see that it's going to be difficult finishing it. I'll try. I don't want to leave it unfinished, but I find the book a great disappointment. The humorous and witty sections aren't and Twain comes across as simply snotty in the unfunny parts.

I'm aware that America was the home of a good deal of anti-Catholic bigotry during Twain's time, but I was shocked by the amount of vitriol coming from Twain regarding the Catholic Church. My opinion of him has dropped considerably.

Another difficulty in finishing The Innocents Abroad  is that I am also reading another novel on J.P.'s Kindle - Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage . I had read the book thirty odd years ago and became interested in reading again after watching the 1934 film adaptation (with Leslie Howard & Bette Davis) on Netflix. It's a given that films can be very different from the novels on which they're based, but I couldn't recall anything of what I'd read so long ago while watching the movie.

After downloading the book,and reading it, I'm tempted to believe that my memory of having read this book to be a false memory. None of the events in the book are recognizable to me.

In addition to Of Human Bondage , I've downloaded three other novels by Maugham as well as works by two authors mentioned by Maugham - Henry Murger and William Morris.

I'm enjoying Maugham's book more than Twain's and I will probably finish reading it first. I'm not quite sure what I'll start on next, but I feel like I should wait until I'm finished with The Innocents Abroad before starting on something new.

There are so many novels available for Kindle that are in the public domain, it's difficult choosing what to read next. I wish the Internet had been around when I was younger.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cantaloupe Update: Number Three - The Final Episode.

The cantaloupe plants are no more.

Ten days ago, my cantaloupe seedlings were doing fine. All the seeds had sprouted and the seedlings were coming along so well that the plants on the two mounds needed to be thinned out. I removed four seedlings from each mound, leaving an equal number in place.

No sooner has I culled the plants, when half were killed by some sort of insect. My brother-in-law didn't appear the least bit interested in the plants I had for him, so I could have put those seedlings back from where they came; I want to leave this house at the end of this month, so I didn't see much point in that.

Last night, the rain wiped out the remaining cantaloupe plants. So much for my little garden plot.

As an aside, I super-cleaned my computer keyboard but that didn't solve the problem I'm having with it. Looks like I'll be replacing it later in the week.

When it rains,it pours.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Keyuboartd P[rtoblems.

Last night, while watching Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan  on Netflix, I went to Google to search the quote from  A Tale of Two Cities   Kirk uses in the film.

Typing the quote into the search, I discovered a problem with the keyboard of my PC. Certain letters weren't coming out properly. For instance, when I typed the letter r, it would show up as rt. The letter i was now i] and u was uy.

"Tis a far, far, better thing" came out, "tri]s a fart,fart berttrert rthi]ng".

Perhaps the keyboard only needed a good cleaning.

Not having any canned air on hand, I did the best I could with cotton swabs. It helped with the letter t but a few letters still weren't working properly.

I'll try to find a can of air this week and if that doesn't help, I'll need to replace the keyboard.

I'm using the keyboard now; I can use the backspace key to correct the errors, but it's a pain, to say the least.

Long story short; there won't be a Saturday Cantaloupe Update this week. Maybe Sunday. No promises, however.

Until next time - or should I say?- UYntri]ll nextr tri]me.