Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Blame Game

For nearly eight years, more than a few folks have tried to place the blame for every imaginable evil on POTUS Obama. No reasonable person, who either knows me personally or has read this blog, could accuse me of being an Obama supporter, but I have to say that he cannot be held responsible for all that's wrong within the United States. Obama could be classified more as a symptom, rather than a cause.

In a recent example, a Wisconsin man was sentenced to three years in prison and three additional years of supervised release for threatening to kill the President - accusing Obama of being a "usurper" to the office.

Now that we are in an election year, the mantle of Evil Personified has been transferred to Donald Trump.

Again, I am not fan of Donald Trump. I could no more vote for him than I could Hillary Clinton. I do not want to see either one elected POTUS. But, just as Obama cannot rightly be blamed for every evil, neither can Trump. As bad as he is, Trump is not the cause of all the problems facing the United States. Like the current POTUS, Trump is more symptom than cause.

This is why I have to call foul on a recent headline on a site called -Trump’s America Is Here: Man Kills 3 People For Not Speaking English.

Another Wisconsin man, Dan J. Popp, is being charged with three counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the deaths of Jesus R. Manso-Perez, 40; Phia Vue, 36; and Mai K. Vue, 32, who were shot and killed on March 6 inside their apartment complex in Milwaukee.

In spite of research into police records having uncovered evidence of mental illness in Popp's history, several groups are urging that he be charge with "hate crimes" with some people claiming that the hate was brought on by Trump's "rhetoric and nationalist remarks".

Last year, when it was discovered that the man accused of the murder of three Muslims in Chapel Hill NC was a fan of Bill Maher and Rachel Maddow, the two Liberal celebrities were not blamed for inciting violence with their rhetoric. It's not even been established that Popp is a Trump fan, yet Trump is already getting the blame for the lunatic's actions.

If convicted in Wisconsin, Popp faces a mandatory life sentence on each count of first-degree intentional homicide...... three counts equals 3 life sentences. If guilty of a "hate crime penalty enhancer", Popp would receive an additional five years imprisonment.

Perhaps Wisconsin will continue to keep Poop's decaying corpse in solitary confinement after he has died in prison.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

My Adopted Priestess

I mentioned in the third part of my LarryD trifecta, that Larry has brought back his "Adopt-A-Priestess Project" wherein he hopes to be a part in bringing a group of apostates back to the Catholic Church through "Masses, rosaries, Divine Mercy chaplets, adoration, fasting – whatever devotion or means that works for you". These so-called "women priests" have excommunicated themselves by participating in fraudulent ordinations.

Contrary to what these women priests and their supporters would have us believe, they are not Catholic priests. Any Mass or Eucharistic service in which they lead is not valid and they are paving the way for their own damnation and the damnation of their misguided followers.

Pope St John Paul II's ORDINATIO SACERDOTALIS explains perfectly the Church's postion on the matter of women's ordination.

"Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful."

When I published my post on Larry's project, I had requested a name, but due to the 12 hour time difference, I had not received the name of a "priestess". Larry has since responded and the name given to me is Kathleen McShane Bean .

Mrs. Bean engages in her sacreligious ceremonies for the Living Beatitudes Community of Dayton, Ohio located in the lower depths of an Episcopal church building.

Mrs. Bean claims to be a Catholic priest, in spite of the fact that the Catholic Church does not consider her to be a ordained priest. It is telling that her theology degree (M.A.T.S) comes from united Theological Seminary  which is self described as being affiliated with The United Methodist Church.

To further add to her disregard to Catholic teaching, Mrs. Bean is married.

Let us pray that Mrs. Bean will come to recognize the error of her thinking and return to the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.

Friday, March 25, 2016

A LarryD Trifecta.....Part Three.

For part three in my LarryD trifecta, I link to Holy Thursday, And The Return Of The Adopt-A-Priestess Project.

In that post, Larry writes of groups who push for women’s ordination in the Catholic Church. We know this will never happen.

Larry quotes Pope St John Paul II:

"Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, . . .I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful."

Normally, LarryD responds to apostates with humor, but here he recognizes the seriousness of this situation. Those involved with, so-called, "women's ordination" have been excommunicated and are in need of prayers. Larry has, what he calls his The Adopt-A-Priestess Project. From his post:

Here’s how it will work: I have a list of the names of 75 women, taken directly from the website of Roman Catholic Women Priests. They are from the US, Canada and a few from Europe. The list will get longer, as I am sifting through a similar roster from the Women’s Ordination Conference site (I’m checking for duplication). If you wish to participate, I will assign you one of the names – or more, if you so desire, just let me know. I’m asking you to pray for that woman’s conversion and return in full communion to the Church. How you do that is entirely up to you. Masses, rosaries, Divine Mercy chaplets, adoration, fasting – whatever devotion or means that works for you. If you’re a priest, and you want to participate, perhaps you could say Masses for that woman (a few for the success of this project would be cool, too!)

I have already requested the name of one of these women, but as of this writing, I haven't received a name as yet.

Anyone wishing to participate can follow the link to LarryD's blog and request a name in the combox.

A LarryD Trifecta......Part Two.

Number two in my LarryD trifecta relates to his post Pot Experts: Jesus Smoked Pot, And He Used It To Cure People, where Larry links to a Holy Week story from which claims that "historical and scientific research suggests that Jesus Christ may have been an avid marijuana user, and experts say he may have also used the plant to heal sick people."

His post reminded me of my post from March, 2008 Was Moses a Dopehead?

As an aside:

Google is a funny thing. If you search the phrase -Was Moses a Dopehead- my post naturally shows as the first link. However, if you search the images for - Was Moses a Dopehead- several of the images used by me on this blog will appear.......but not the actual image I used for that post.

Go figure.

A LarryD Trifecta....Part One

Here in Philippines, it's been Good Friday for a few hours and for a penance, I'll be blogging a LarryD trifecta.......publishing three posts that connect in some way to LarryD's Acts Of The Apostasy blog.

On Wednesday, Larry had this post - PARISH REPORT: Pastor Starts Cross-fit Box To Prepare Liturgy Team For Triduum, Easter. In this humorous post, Larry writes of a parish priest who gets "his parish liturgy team into shape ahead of the Triduum and Easter Sunday celebrations" by way of a number of challenging physical endurance tests.

Here in Philippines, they also combine spiritual training with physical training. It's the Via Crucis. Here, we make our way to the church by 4 AM on Good Friday to do the Stations of the Cross. Unlike in the United States where the priest walks around the inside of the church while praying the Stations, in Philippines hundreds (if not thousands) of people follow the priest through the streets stopping along the way to pray.

I measured the distance after completing the Via Crucis this morning - seven kilometers.

I don't speak Bisaya so I could not follow the prayers, but I kept pace with the priest and the young men who were taking turns carrying the wooden cross.

Most the the walk was along a back road which does not normally have much traffic. By 7 AM, we had made our way back to the highway. From there, the crowd had no choice but to walk along the highway for about 1 kilometer. Needless to say, there were cars on the highway by this time who had to stop to let us continue. While we were blocking traffic, a smaller Protestant denomination were doing their own Via Crucis, coming from the opposite direction.

I really had to smile at the people stuck in traffic. I can't imagine anyone attempting to get anywhere by car while this was going on. Hey, they should have known better. It's not like this is something new.

Random House Along the Road

On Wednesday, I posted a photo of a house being built along the road that leads to the highway. This is in the opposite direction from my walk to the gym and I hadn't noticed until a day or so ago the progress that has been made recently.

As promised, I took another photo of the house. I've put the two together. Looking closely, I see most of the work has been done on cleaning up the area.....looks like a driveway in the front.

It's slow going.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Detour

In countries around the world where government officials are chosen through reasonably fair democratic elections, the politicians share one common attribute; they wish to be reelected and desperately try to convince the voters to put them back into office.

It's easy to see that this is an election year in Philippines. Through out the country, money to repair roads and bridges has miraculously appeared in government budgets. Before you folks in the United States become too smug, let's look at the situation there. Every election year, politicians promise to release funds for repairing the infrastructure when they are reelected. They're put in office and the repairs are not made. In 2008, Obama made repairing the infrastructure a major objective. Now, 8 years later, Hillary Clinton is making the same promise because the infrastructure is in need of repair. At least in Philippines, the roads do get repaired every four years.

One such repair job being done now is on a bridge between our apartment and the Poblacion area of the town. A temporary wooden bridge has been erected to allow passage via motorcycle or foot. Cars, trucks and tricycles have to choose an alternate route.

The most obvious route is taking the road going in the opposite direction toward the highway at Maslog. It's not exactly convenient.

Signs have been posted showing an alternate detour going from Cangmating to Poblacion. Cathy and I accidentally came upon that route months ago before the construction began on the bridge. The distance is shorter than going through Maslog, but unfortunately it's not a viable option. Only about 1/4 of the road is paved. The remaining 3/4 is very bumpy and I'm sure it's not good for an auto's suspension. I suppose if one were driving a company delivery truck where the vehicle's suspension was not your problem it could be different, but the road is too narrow for large trucks to travel.

Last year, the Via Crucis walk went from the church in Poblacion through Magatas and back to the church. The original plan for this Good Friday was to walk from Poblacion through Cangmating. This would have put the walk going past our apartment. The bridge work put a stop to that plan. The vehicle leading the Via Crucis can't finish the route. Not only that, but having the hundreds - if not thousands - walk across the narrow wooden bridge wouldn't be safe. This year, the Via Crucis will follow last year's route through Magatas.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Update on the Routine

I wrote in a post from yesterday that I'd be making changes in my workout routine this week, partly due to this week being Holy Week and the gym being closed on Good Friday.

My son is out of school for the remainder of the week so there was no reason for me to get out of bed as early as on a normal week day, but my circadian rhythm saw otherwise.

Upon waking, I had a cup of coffee while watching a few minutes of The Five on Fox News before beginning on my Sun Salutation sequence.

It's been quite a long time since I last did these asanas and wasn't able to do as many "sets" as I would have liked to have done. I'll work up to it, I'm sure.

A little after 6 AM, I headed out for a walk. For those familiar with the area, I walked from near the Ice Plant in Cangmating to the Petron Station by the entrance to the airport. That's a tiny bit longer than a five kilometer walk, there and back.

Tomorrow I'll repeat the routine.

I believe I've made the right decision. I have a little muscular pain; it won't hurt to take off from the gym for a few extra days.

The photo?

I took this photo a few months ago on one of my walks to the highway. I was noticing today that there's been a little work done on the building in the photo. I'll bring my camera along with me in the morning and we'll compare.

Sanders wins Democrats Abroad Primary

On March 06, I learned, via Facebook, of the Democrats Abroad’s Global Presidential Primary . Rather than vote in the Primary, I left a comment on the Facebook page - "Vote Democrat?!?! You SOBs are why I left the country!!" - to which I received 6 likes.

Today I read on the Al Jazeera website, that Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton in the Democrats Abroad global primary contest - 69% versus 31% - giving Sanders 9 delegates. Clinton received 4.

According to results listed on the website, 139 Democrat ex-pats in Philippines voted in the primary, giving Sanders 79 votes to Clinton's 59. You can be certain of one thing......there are many, many more ex-pats in Philippines than the 139 who voted. I don't know the exact figure, but 139 is a drop in the bucket.

From my experience in the U.S., it appears to me that American men with Filipina wifes tend to be, more often than not, politically Conservative. Of course, that being said, the American/Filipina couples I know are living in the Southern United States which tends to vote Republican. That's anecdotal evidence, but I feel reasonably confident that the majority of American/Filipina couples in the remaining areas of the U.S. would yield similar results.

As an aside to a friend currently living in the United Arab Emirates, there appears to be more active Democrat voters in UAE compared to Philippines. The website shows 880 Democrat voters with 541 of those going to Bernie. I'll leave it to him to explain that.


When we left the U.S. of A. for life in Philippines, I brought along several packets of a variety of vegetable seeds. These were sent inside a balikbayan box. I've chronicled my lack of success with these seeds when we first arrived.

After we moved into this apartment, the seed packets have set in a desk drawer ..... nowhere to plant the seeds here.

I decided to give the gardening project one more try. If the seeds sprout, we can plant the seedlings on the property in Maslog. About 10 or 12 days ago, I cut the bottoms of 3 plastic water bottles, filled each with soil from the landlord's flower bed and planted tomato seeds into each of the 3 bottle bottoms. When the seeds had not sprouted after a week, I decided to try butternut squash seeds. As one can see, the tomato seeds have still not sprouted, while the squash seeds have begun doing their job.

Perhaps this climate is not suited for tomatoes. I haven't come across any decent looking tomatoes in any market or grocery here. Oh, there may be tomatoes, but the ones you find are pathetically small. I've never come across a large tomato grown in Philippines. I was hoping to change that, but sadly, my seeds don't seem to be doing anything.

Banana Bread Muffins

Yesterday's nanner puddin' turned out so well that I decided to bake Banana Bread Muffins for breakfast this morning.

In the U.S., I baked these muffins regularly. To bake the muffins here, I've had to make changes in the recipe. The family's favorite was my recipe using half all purpose (white) flour and half whole wheat flour. I haven't been able to locate whole wheat flour in this area of Philippines, so it's 100% all purpose.

Here's the modified recipe:

Banana Bread Muffins
(makes 1 dozen)

1 1/2 cups all purpose white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

3 or 4 mashed very ripe bananas
1 egg
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In a large bowl cream together eggs and sugar. Stir in mashed bananas, vanilla, and oil . Stir in flour mixture, a third at a time, until just combined.

Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full. Bake about 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Altered Scheduled

I've mentioned my exercise work out schedule before. This being Holy Week, the schedule will change slightly.

Naturally, the gym will be closed on Good Friday. I could alter my schedule from the Monday, Tuesday / Thursday, Friday pattern to a Monday, Tuesday / Thursday, Saturday pattern , but I felt this would be a good week to give my muscles a longer than usual rest period; particularly since I will be walking the Via Crucis on Good Friday.

As luck would have it, I came into possession of a yoga mat a few days ago. As tomorrow will be a "walk" day, I'll warm up with a few minutes of the Sun Salutation sequence of asanas before I go on my walk. It's been several years since I've done any yoga asanas. Starting out with the Sun Salutation sequence should be just the thing for a return. I'll try for a few minutes every morning to see how it works out.

Nanner Puddin'

It's been a long time since I've made a nanner puddin'. To those of you who do not speak Southern, that's a banana pudding.

When we first arrived, we did not have an oven, so it wasn't possible to cook the meringue. I have made one with a whipped cream topping instead, but then you're left with unused egg whites. We have an oven now, but vanilla wafers are not available in Dumaguete. My decision to make this nanner puddin' was brought on by my discovery of a Marie biscuit made by Monde Nissin. The cookie does not taste exactly like a Nabisco vanilla wafer, but when I tasted one for the first time, I thought they would be a reasonable substitute.

I've included the recipe.

The recipe:

3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/3 cup flour
dash salt
4 eggs, separated
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
vanilla wafers
5 bananas, sliced

MIX 1/2 cup sugar, flour and salt in top of double boiler. Blend in 4 egg yolks and milk. Cook, uncovered, over boiling water 10 to 12 min. or until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.

RESERVE 12 wafers for garnish. Spread small amount of custard onto bottom of 1-1/2-qt. baking dish. Cover with layers of 1/3 each of the remaining wafers, bananas and remaining custard. Repeat layers 2 times.

BEAT egg whites on high speed of mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread over custard, sealing well to edge of dish.

BAKE 15 to 20 min. or until lightly browned. Cool slightly. Top with reserved wafers just before serving

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Lady with the Dog

As I mentioned in last Tuesday's post, after finishing Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita I decided to stay on a Russian theme and began reading volume one of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's, The Gulag Archipelago.

Solzhenitsyn's book is quite remarkable, but I can only read relatively small portions at a time. His description of the tortures the inmates had to endure is difficult for me to take. I'm still working my way through the book, but I am going back and forth between it and other reading material in order to keep my sanity.

At one point, Solzhenitsyn makes reference to Anton Chekhov. I hadn't read any of Chekhov's work - surprising since I been filling my brain with Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Gogol and Bulgakov. Chekhov now became another Russian author I'd want to read.

Of course, all of Constance Garnett's translations of his short stories are available at Project Gutenberg, but the problem for me was where to begin? According to wikipedia, Chekov's  The Lady with the Dog is considered by some as one of the greatest short stories ever written. I can't argue with that, but it does bother me that Chekov ends the story without a resolution to the problem involving the two main characters. When the story ended, and the next page in my e book turned to A Doctors Visit, I was a little confused. When I realized I had actually come to the end of the story, I was disappointed.
In spite of that disappointment, I'll continue with the volume of Chekov's short stories in between my portions of Solzhenitsyn.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Glenn Beck Slams John Kasich

Yesterday, I wrote that John Kasich Guarantees Trump's Nomination. Glenn Beck actually summed up the situation perfectly when he called the Ohio Governor a delusional son of a bitch.

I could not agree more.

As Beck rightly points out, Kasich is thinking more of himself and less about what is best for the Republic. Kasich has absolutely no chance of winning the Republican nomination and he is helping Trump win the nomination and very possibly a Hillary Clinton victory.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Dems Extinguish the Bern with Preparation H.

Dems Extinguish the Bern with Preparation H.

Clinton Points Out Obama's Failures

In Hillary Clinton's speech tonight, she sounded more like someone running against President Obama rather than someone who wants to be seen as being Obama's third term.

She said:

"And so our next president needs to be ready to face three big tasks. First can you make positive differences in people's lives? Second, can you keep us safe? Third, can you bring our country together again?"

Bring us together? Wasn't Obama supposed to have been the post-racial President? Wasn't he going to be the one who united us as a nation?


"Families deserve a president who will fight for the things that are our priorities at home but too often aren't priorities in Washington: affordable child care, paid family leave, and, something we have waited for long enough, equal pay for equal work for women."

Equal pay for equal work for women? Didn't Obama solve that with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009?

"And above all, above all, hard working Americans across our country deserve a president with both the ideas and the know how to create good jobs with rising incomes right here in our country."

I thought Obama had fixed the economy. I thought unemployment under Obama was at an all time low. What's to fix, Hillary?

According to her website, "Hillary believes that strengthening our infrastructure is critical to boosting wages and making our economy productive and competitive. That’s why she has announced a $275 billion, 5-year plan to revitalize our nation’s bridges, roads, public transit systems, and other public works".

Didn't Obama fix our infrastructure problems when he called for a $850 Billion Infrastructure Spending Plan to Jolt Economy?

Here in Philippines, it's an election year. You can tell because money is being spent to repair roads and bridges through out the country. The elected officials fix the roads in order to get reelected. The difference in the U.S. is that the pols there promise to repair the infrastructure after the election. Of course, those promises go unfulfilled. At least in Philippines, the roads do get repaired every four years.

As an aside, I posted a photo of Clinton dressed in orange. She may need to get used to wearing orange colored clothes soon, although the clothes put together by her prison tailor may not fit her as well. Regarding Hillary's supporters, not only does Gullible Sound Like "Oranges", it looks like Oranges too.

John Kasich Guarantees Trump's Nomination

This election so reminds me of 1968.

Riots in Chicago. A populist causing havoc with the party establishment. A Nixonian candidate poised to win her party's nomination - and possibly the election.

In 1968, the Democrats split over George Wallace, in 2016 the Republicans are split over Donald Trump.

If the strategy is to keep Trump from winning the Republican nomination, Ohio Governor, John Kasich is doing his best to guarantee that Trump becomes the nominee. Kasich is extremely popular in Ohio, and in any other election cycle he might make a viable candidate, but this year, he has no chance, mathematically of doing anything other than throwing a wrench into the Never Trump machinery.

The only Republican who has any chance of stopping Trump is Ted Cruz. He was not my first choice - that would have been Rubio. Cruz suffers from a likability prospective. He's the ideal political Conservative, but let's face it - he's not very likable.

With that said, I could support a Republican ticket with Cruz as the candidate, especially if he chooses either Carly Fiorina or Nikki Haley as his running mate. The Republicans need a woman VP candidate who can take the fight to Clinton's "war on women" rhetoric. This being the year of the political outsider, Fiorina might be the better option.

As I've said before, the U.S. deserves a better choice than a Clinton/Trump slugfest. Of course, there's still the possiblity that Hillary will face a Federal indictment before the election. Let's hope if that happens, the Republicans have a better candidate than Trump.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Next on the Reading List

After finishing The Master and Margarita, I had three choices regarding which book I'd read next;
1) Another book by Mikhail Bulgakov, The Heart of a Dog.
2) Nikolai Gogol's, Dead Souls
3) Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's, The Gulag Archipelago.

Solzhenitsyn won.

All three volumes of The Gulag Archipelago can be downloaded here.

The parts I've read so far seem very familiar to me. Perhaps I read a portion of the work several years ago. That's possible. I may have owned a paperback copy sometime in the past which most likely went mostly unread. It would have been ages ago - before I'd read Tolstoy or Dostoevsky.

The first volume is quite the page turner, but I'm wondering just how much I can actually get through. If it just continues to list different people who were arrested by Stalin, it will become old very quickly.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Trump Gives Sanders Supporters Major Butt-Bern.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm no fan of Donald Trump - I do not support his attempt to become POTUS, but when I see a foul ball, I have to call foul.

Moveon.Org is raising funds from Trump protests, and warns more disruptions to come. Certainly, just as Trump has the Right in the U.S. to speak his political views, the folks in Moveon.Org have the Right to protest his rallies. However, many on the Left and the Right want to blame Trump for inciting the violence. Bernie Sanders believes that Trump is provoking these violent protesters. He holds Trump responsible for his followers. Shouldn't then, Sanders be held responsible for the action of Bernie supporters?

With the continued disruption of Trump rallies by Leftists, it is simply a matter of time before some Trump supporters return tit for tat. How long before the violence spills over onto the Clinton and/or Sanders gatherings? I have no political crystal ball, but I think our witnessing such violence by the first political convention this summer is not an unreasonable prediction.

Is Islamaphobia a Form of Racism? Part Two.

Anyone who has followed this blog knows that I am no supporter of Donald Trump. If you doubt that, click on the category labeled "Trump" and read my posts for yourself.

I'd like to believe that I'm objective; I think that I'm fair in what I write and say. Fairness and objectivity are two reasons why I have to call out a recent opinion piece by Khaled A Beydoun which was published on the Al Jazeera website. Beydoun is another Muslim writer who would have us believe that "Islamaphobia" is a form of racism. Admittedly, Beydoun defines Islamophobia as "the suspicion and fear of Islam and its 1.7 billion adherents", but he seems to be confused on the definition of "racism".

Islam is not a race. Islam is a religion and a belief-system whose believers come from a variety of races and ethnic backgrounds. Not all Muslims are Arab. You could, logically argue that Islamophobia is a form of bigotry, but I'm not at all certain that that description fits Trump.

I would modify Beydoun's definition of the word Islamophobia as "an unreasonable suspicion and fear of Islam". So, we'd have to ask if Trump's fear of Islam is unreasonable?

While calling for a ban (temporary or otherwise) of all Muslim immigration into the United States might be extreme, there are elements in Islam which do pose a threat to Western civilization and picking out which Muslims are extreme, and which are not, is not an easy task.

Beydoun claims that the "word brand Trump" is becoming synonymous with the expansion of racism and the incitement of Islamophobic violence. That may be true among the political Left where the word racism is thrown about carelessly, but I've seen little evidence of Islamophobic violence in the United States.

To my knowledge, no American is calling for the beheading of Muslims.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Camel Racing

In our barangay (Cangmating, Sibulan), when it comes to cable television, we have only one choice regarding which company we can access - Fil Products. When we were living in barangay Poblacion we had Sky Cable; they're not available here. I'm not complaining, just giving the facts.

With our cable, we have 120 television stations, not all of those stations, of course are Filipino stations. We have local networks, but we also have News, Sports, Educational and Entertainment channels from all over the world. We have stations from the U.S., Australia, Europe and Asia. We get stations broadcasting in nearly every language imaginable; Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, French, German...yeah, and even English, Tagalog and Visayan.

One of the Sports channels available to us is an Arabic language channel from Qatar, Al-Kass Sports.

Last night, while channel surfing, I came upon camel racing on Al-Kass. Several questions came to my mind, regarding this camel race, which went unanswered due to my not being able to understand anything being said.

For one thing, as one can see from the photo I took of my television screen, there were no riders on the camels. This contradicts photos found on the wikipedia article covering the subject.

Why are the camels riderless? How can the promoters be certain the camels will continue to run without a jockey guiding them and pushing them in the right direction?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Paint It Black

Today, March 08, 2016 is the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones going into the RCA Studios in Los Angeles to record their hit, Paint It Black, although it would not be released on single until May 7th of that year.

Upon it's release, Decca Records placed a comma into the title (in error) making it Paint It, Black reportedly stirring a controversy among fans over its "racial interpretation". I'm not quite sure how a comma could add that sort of interprtation, but there you have it.

There have been a number of cover versions of the song over the years, but my current favorite is by the identical twin electric/acoustic harpists, called appropriately enough, The Harp Twins.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

In my last post [ Marianne Faithfull, The Master and Margarita and Faust. ] I made mention of the 19th Century French composer, Charles Gounod . To people today, Gounod is best remembered for his Funeral March of a Marionette which would later become the theme music for the television program Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Hitchcock is said to have been introduced to Funeral March of a Marionette from a 1927 film, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans which included the music in the soundtrack. This film was one of the first feature films to have a synchronized musical score and sound effects soundtrack.

The film won the Academy Award for Unique and Artistic Production at the 1st Academy Awards in 1929. The leading lady, Janet Gaynor, won the first Academy Award for Best Actress. The film can be found on Youtube (click here).

I found the movie to be quite entertaining and I highly recommend it.

Marianne Faithfull, The Master and Margarita and Faust.

It's funny how A leads to B and onto C in a serendipitous way.

Listening to Bob Dylan's Visions of Johanna on Spotify, I discovered that Marianne Faithfull had recorded the song in the early 1970s, after she had broken up with Mick Jagger and was living on the streets. Reading the wikipedia article on her, I learned that Jagger's song Sympathy for the Devil was partly inspired by a novel Faithfull had given to Jagger - The Master and Margarita  by Russian writer, Mikhail Bulgakov. I began researching the novel and quickly decided to add it to my list of books to read this year. It is considered by some critics to be one of the best novels of the 20th century, as well as the foremost of Soviet satires. Fortunately, I was able to locate a translation of the novel, in pdf format, which I was able to download and convert to mobi.

I'm 1/3 of the way through The Master and Margarita.  The novel has lead me to Charles Gounod's opera, Faust and La damnation de Faust by French composer, Hector Berlioz.

Unable to speak French, I searched the Internet for copies of the librettos for both operas which would include both the original French and an English translation. There were English translations available without the French included, but it is more difficult for me to follow the thread of the opera without the original language juxtaposed to the translation.

I was able to locate such a translation on the website Sadly, the libretto published there is less than perfect. The website does not provide a downloadable pdf. I managed to get around that, however, by "printing" each page of the libretto using CutePDF Writer. Although the website publishes all 5 Acts of the opera, it lists these 5 Acts as being only 4...... Acts 1 and 2 being listed as Act 1. Also, there are one or two portions where the lyrics sung by the Chorus isn't included. I am able to follow along, while listening to the opera, even though the libretto isn't up to par.

The libretto for La damnation de Faust is also available on the same website. I'm hoping they've done a better job with that one.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Trump Piñatas

I like to applaud the entrepreneurial spirit whenever I see examples of it, and I find nothing wrong with the concept of someone making money off selling Donald Trump piñatas. The Washington Post recently published a photo of a vendor in Tijuana, Mexico doing just that.

My only problem with the Tijuana Trump piñata is the obvious fact that the one shown above does not resemble Trump. For one thing, the hair on the piñata is much nicer.

Putting "Donald Trump piñatas" (without the"") into a search engine, I came upon some piñatas that actually do look like the Donald - much more than the Tijuana Trump piñata.

For those Trump fans who object to this, just be thankful that no one has come up with a Trump Caganer.

Vicente Fox Compares Trump to Der Führer.

It's certainly no secret that Donald Trump and former Mexican President Vicente Fox are not best buds. We've all seen the video of Fox saying he will not pay for Trump's f***ing wall.

Seeing a way to boost ratings, Mehdi Hasan, host of Al Jazeera's UpFront recently interviewed Fox via Skype, in which Fox, seemingly unfamiliar with the idea of Reductio ad Hitlerum, compared Trump to the murderer of more than 6 million Jews. Even Hasan had to question Fox on the notion that Trump would put people in concentration camps, should he be elected POTUS.
As much as I dislike the idea of defending Trump, I have to say that Fox is mistaken in quite a few of his observations of the Donald.

Contrary to what Fox believes, Trump does not have an "attitude about the supreme white race". Like many Democrats - Hillary Clinton and Al Sharpton, to name just two - Trump is not above stoking the racial fires in the U.S., but I would not call him a racist, white supremacist. Political whore, yes. White supremacist, no.

In the interview, Fox expresses concern for the plight of the Mexican worker - the migrant harvesting the crops, or working in the restaurants in the United States. Hasan rightfully pointed out that Fox had done next to nothing in the way of providing jobs in Mexico for these people while he was President of that country.

The Mexican government has long seen America's porous borders as a solution to Mexico's problem with poverty and unemployment. I can see why Vicente Fox is not at all happy with Mr. Trump.

Heathcliff's Filet-O-Fish Adventure

In a recent posting on his blog, Village Idiot Savant 2016, my friend Dom tells of his less than satisfying Filet-o-Fish sandwich from McDonald’s. He had been rushed that Friday morning and unable to prepare a packed lunch, and it being a Friday during Lent, his choices were very limited.

Dom's mentioning of the Filet-o-Fish sandwich brought to my mind a story told to me by an American friend of mine. Rather than use my friend's real name, I'll substitute the name Heathcliff - not because my American friend is particularly sinister, but I've just finished reading Wuthering Heights and the name is fresh in my mind.

My friend Heathcliff is married to a Filipina from Cebu. At the time this incident took place, Heathcliff's father-in-law, "Pops", had been living with Heathcliff and his wife - originally planning to make the U.S. his home. However, for reasons unknown to me, Pops living there was not working out and he was to return to Cebu.

It was decided that Pops would not be able to fly from Atlanta to Cebu on his own, and as Heathcliff's wife, Gertrude would not be able to take time off from work, Heathcliff would accompany Pops and stay a few weeks at a resort before returning to the U.S..

After seeing Pops home safely, Heathcliff checked into the resort, where, from what I've been told, proceeded to do absolutely nothing for two weeks. The only things he found interesting enough to relate to us, was his regrettable experience with Filipino spaghetti and his decision to live solely on McDonald's Filet-o-Fish sandwiches for the duration of his stay in Cebu; a filetofishetarian, if you will.

In relating this tale, Heathcliff did not explain to me why he did not alter his diet with the occasional Quarter Pounder w/cheese or Big Mac.

After about a week of Heathcliff's Filet-o-Fish diet, the manager of the McDonald's asked Heathcliff  how long he was planning on staying in the area, as they had served more Filet-o-Fish to my friend than they had ever sold. It was a record for them, and the manager needed to know how much more of the frozen fish fillets he would need to order to keep up with Heathcliff's consumption.

Unfortunately, there is no spectacular ending to this story, other than the fact that my friend Heathcliff lived to tell about it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

If Trump or Hillary Gets Elected, I'll............

During every Presidential election cycle, some famous somebody or other claims that if such and such is elected, they'll leave the country. In 2008, someone by the name of Akon claimed he would leave the U.S. and return to Senegal if John McCain was elected over Barack Obama. Susan Sarandon was also ready to leave had McCain won.

In 2000, Barbara Streisand, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin were going to abandon the U.S. of A if George Bush won the election. They stayed.

Now, Rosie O’Donnell says she won't stay around under a President Trump. Al Sharpton feels the same way, as does Whoopi Goldberg.

Some of the less than famous are planning to leave for Canada should (pick one) Hillary or Trump gets elected.

I know how they feel. I wouldn't want to live in a country run by either of these morons. Thing is, I left the U.S. almost two years ago. My threat to leave should Trump or Clinton win would be meaningless. Not as meaningless as these other folks with their claims, but pointless never the less. No politician is begging me to return.

Sounds Like "Oranges"

Back on Feb 11, I wrote in a post that I could see the very real possibility that the two candidates emerging out of the primary debacle this year would be Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. After the results of the so called Super Tuesday primaries, I believe I may have spoken too soon regarding Mr. Sanders. I no longer think he has much of a chance of defeating Hillary Clinton - assuming, of course that she does not get indicted prior to the Democrat convention.

Unfortunately, it appears that Trump is still on a direct path to victory in the Republican contest.

My track record for predicting winners in the U.S. Presidential races has not been spectacular. Even though my record is abysmal, I'm going to go out on a limb and make my prediction for the Nov. 8th election. Contrary to what the current polls would indicate, I believe Donald Trump will be the next POTUS.

I know, some are shaking their heads in disbelief. How can Trump win, they say? Look at his negatives. The people that say that are ignoring the negatives surrounding Hillary Clinton.

As early as last September, I have pointed out that Trump and Barack Obama are two sides of the same coin. Like Obama in 2008, Trump is offering Americans empty promises with words and sound bites the people long to hear. In 2008, it was "Hope and Change", today it's "Make America Great Again".

There's talk about American exceptionalism. There really isn't anything exceptional about Americans. Just as the Italians were taken in by Mussolini and his flamboyant personality, they were taken in by Barack Obama in 2008 and it appears they will surrender once again to a cult of personality.