Wednesday, August 31, 2016

'Go Topless Day' and its Raëlian Connection

This past Sunday, August 28, 2016 was International Go Topless Day, and women through out the United States bared their breasts in protest against laws that prohibit women from going topless in public. Compare this to the situation in France where women are being prevented from dressing modestly due to attempted bans on the wearing of burkinis on beaches.

I became aware of a strange twist to this when I read a recent article on Sputnik news is reporting that, according to French writer Roger Gonnet, Go Topless Day is not motivated by a support of "women's rights", but is actually a recruitment drive for the UFO cult, Raëlism.

Raëlian priestess and President of GoTopless, Nadine Gary, in an interview, told,"Monotheistic religions are the culprit for the guilt humans feel about their naked body, their sensuality, their sexuality with of course a woman as the ultimate instigator of 'the original sin'".

Is it merely a coincidence that the movement to ban the rather modest swimwear know as birkinis and the movement pushing for women being permitted to go topless in public, both have their origins in does the Raëlian religious cult.

I'm not saying that the Raëlians are behind the birkini ban, but there is a French connection behind all this.

Merry Christmas from Philippines

Earlier this year, I made a promise to myself that I would do my best to post 366 posts this year (this being leap year). Of course, this means an average of one post per day. I knew there would be days I'd miss, either from my being busy with other things or from lack of inspiration. I'd even need to occasionally write more than two on some days. February was a particularly bad month with only 10 posts. This was finally made up with a whopping 54 posts in May.

Today is August 31 and I should have 244 total posts to stay on average and 31 posts for the month of August. This particular post will be number 241 for the year - number 28 for the month. So, with this posting, I will be only three posts behind. That's a number that can easily be made up.

The real focus of this post is that with the end of August, comes the beginning (tomorrow) of the 'ber' months in Philippines. Years ago, when I first heard of the 'ber', I had no clue what it was. Before we were married, my wife mentioned that the celebration of Christmas begins in Philippines with the 'ber'. She went on to explain that the 'ber' were the months ending in b.e.r.......September, October, November and December.

Starting tomorrow, we will begin hearing Christmas carols being played on T.V., in the shopping centers, and coming through the open windows of our neighbors.

I know many Americans believe the Christmas season begins in December. Some would say that the season actually begins the day after Thanksgiving in November. Most Americans shake their heads in amazement if Christmas decorations are brought out in Walmart before Halloween is over. For those Americans, the 'ber' would take quite a bit of getting used to. But, here in Philippines, it's the normal way and is accepted without any objections, as far as I can tell.

So, with September 1st less than 24 hours away, let me be the first to wish you all a Merry Christmas.

An Email Update

One week ago, I received an email from Google Maps letting me know that the photos I had posted onto Google Maps had received more than 5,000 views. As I've mentioned in a number of posts, this email encouraged me to post more photos taken in Dumaguete and Sibulan.

One week later, I received an email from Google Maps telling me that my photos had been viewed in excess of 10,000 times. 13,961 views, to be precise.

That was yesterday, and today, checking my stats on the site, the number of views for my photos have already risen to almost 17,000.

I'm not sure which amazes me more - an increase of 8,000 views in one week, or the 4,000 view increase in one day. Obviously, the 4,000 in one day is pretty good, but the increase in the total number of uploaded photos is partly responsible for the difference.

I think Google Maps does a good job of posting and giving credit for the images posted. However, as I pointed out in a post Monday, their procedures for adding new location listings leaves a lot to be desired. Some edits are published immediately while others must wait for lengthy review. I don't understand why some edits take longer for approval. There doesn't seem to be a rhyme or reason behind which get approved quickly and which edits don't.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


When I first read Cal Thomas' review of the 2016 film version of Ben Hur, I was sadly resigned to the thought that it would probably not make it's way to the theater in Dumaguete. I watched the 1959 version as a child - haven't seen it in ages - and though I remember enjoying the movie, I didn't recall too many specific details.

It was Thomas' review of the film which prompted me to download a copy of the novel from Project Gutenberg. I came to learn that the book, written by Lew Wallace in the 1880s, was one of the top best sellers of the 19th century. When I wrote my previous post on Ben Hur, I was 15% into the ebook and remarked that I was more impressed with it than I was with the book which knocked it out of top selling novels, Gone With The Wind.

Now, two weeks later, I'm less impressed with the novel. It's really been a grind reading it. It started out interesting, but now I'm wondering why the 19th century reader was so enamored with Wallace's book. I've told myself that once I've begun reading a book, I'd do my best to finish reading it - no matter how boring it becomes. If I had continued to find Ben Hur worth reading, I would have finished it within a few days. Instead, I'm only 40% through after two weeks. I can't imagine continuing with this for another two weeks. Surely, it will pick up again.

After the release of the 2016 version, reviews for the film have been less than positive. The Wall Street Journal says the film not only bombed, but bombed big, even accusing the filmmakers of portraying "watered down Christianity". Perhaps it's just as well that the film probably won't make it to my local theater.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Today's Photos

My new hobby of adding photos and reviews to Google Maps began with an email from Google Maps informing me that the eight photos I had previously added to the site had been viewed more than 5,000 times. In the six days or so since receiving that email, I've added approximately 550 additional photos to Google Maps.

I mentioned in a post earlier this morning that I'd be going out to day to take photographs. It was these 90 that pushed my photo contributions to over the 500 mark.

All together, I've added photographs for 169 different locations in Philippines - the majority being in Dumaguete and Sibulan, although I have posted photos from a few places on Cebu island.

As it turned out, today was an especially good day for going out and about shooting photos. Today, being a holiday in Philippines, (National Heroes Day) the traffic was fairly light. Of course, it was still early when my son and I started and that certainly helped as well.

I also mentioned in the earlier post that I had recommended nearly thirty additions to Google Maps. At the time of that writing, 15 had been approved with 12 being reviewed. Since then, I was awarded "points" for 10 of those 15. The 12 are still under review, as well as the location of a 7-eleven store which I added after this morning's trek.

Some of my successful, published additions include the Magatas Barangay Hall, the Arbee's Bakeshop in Sibulan, and the Seventh-Day Adventist church, also in Sibulan.

As I stated above, when contacted by Google Maps six days ago, my eight photos had been viewed more than 5,000 times. Since then, my photos (including the new ones posted this week) have been viewed nearly 14,000 times. Besides the highly viewed photos of the parish Church in Sibulan, one of my photos of a hotel in Dumaguete (Check-inn Pension Plaza) has been viewed 340 times in the three days since it was added. Most surprising to me is that my photo of the Ceres Liner bus terminal in Dumaguete has also been viewed an equal number of times in the same three days.

On the lighter side, one of my photos of the Hotel Bee Motel has been viewed about 80 times. The Hotel Honey Bee is one of the rent by the hour, No-Tell Motels written about in another post. Obviously, quite a few couples were interested in finding a place for a tête-à-tête. One has to wonder if viewing this photograph encouraged or discouraged the use of this particular motel.

All my photos uploaded to Google Maps can be seen by clicking here.

Dumaguete's No-Tell Motels

Note: This post was previously published on another of my blogs.

As one leaves Dumaguete city proper, on the North Road, passing the Airport you will eventually come upon the town of Sibulan. As you approach Sibulan from Dumaguete, you come to, what is called, by Google Maps, San Antonio Street. Of course, there are no street signs - Maslog Elementary School is on the corner.

Traveling up San Antonio Street, you will also wind up in Sibulan via the barangays of Maslog and Cangmating.

The peculiar thing I've found about San Antonio Street is the prevalence of, what are called in Philippines, Drive in Motels. In the U.S., we might call such places No-tell Motels.

Word is, these motels are basically used as the location for a ....uh.... "third rate romance, low rent rendezvous".

There are four of these No-tell Motels, located very close to one another, on San Antonio Street; Wild Wind, Queen of Hearts, Triple 888 and Honey Bee.

I don't have personal knowledge of the workings of the motels, but I'm told by reliable sources that the rooms are rented by the hour, with a hidden garage available for each of the rooms.

As I mentioned, the main highway is called Negros North Road - heading north from Dumaguete toward Sibulan. The Google map calls this highway South Road.......I suppose it is for folks heading into Dumaguete from Sibulan.

Adding Businesses To Google Maps

One thing that I can do as a Local Guide for Google Maps is to suggest edits by adding missing businesses to the map. I've done this quite a few times recently. As a matter of fact, as I write this blog post, I've suggested 27 additions.

When locations are added, Google will do one of two things; Google will either put the suggestion up for review, or publish the addition immediately. So far,15 of my 27 additions were added immediately with 12 still open for review. Frankly, I don't understand why Google immediately approves some additions over certain others. The process seems a bit random to me.

I was able to add one or two government run places - like a barangay hall or an elementary school - so I thought that might be the way to go until they put my addition of the Sibulan Multi Purpose and Evacuation Center up for review. Likewise, Google didn't have a problem with my addition of one spa located in Dumaguete, but two spas I added into review. Two businesses in Sibulan - Arbee's Bakeshop and Pacifica Agrivet Supplies were published immediately, but the business located between those two - AHL Richie & AHL Rose Bakeshop, is being reviewed. There just doesn't seem to be a set rhyme or reason behind it all.

I can understand that some locations might need to be reviewed before adding them to the Google Map, but Google has let quite a few placed by others which are not at all accurate. I discovered two schools - Cangmating Elementary and Boloc-boloc Elementary - as being shown to be located in "downtown" Sibulan in the Poblacion barangay, when both are actually located miles away in entirely different barangay.

It's still early morning. I'll be going out later today to take more photos. Oh well, it keeps me busy and out of trouble.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Google Street View - A Missed Opportunity

As I've mentioned before, I've been uploading photos of different locations in Dumaguete and Sibulan onto Google Maps. As I write this post, I've uploaded 378 photos of 112 places in the area. It's my latest hobby. I'll be adding even more photos as the days go by.

As a matter of fact, I was in Dumaguete taking photos yesterday afternoon. My wife had an appointment in the city. I drove her across town and spent about an hour taking photos. Parking in the Lee Plaza parking area, I walked around a couple of streets and was able to get quite a few photos. From Dunkin' Donuts to the Philippine Immigration office, to banks and stores, and even a hospital

After being in the hot sun for nearly an hour, I was ready to get back into my air conditioned car and head home. I continued taking photos on the drive home, of course. As I was passing in front of the Dumaguete Airport, I saw an odd looking vehicle parked along the side of the highway. On closer inspection, I see that it's the Google Maps Street View car. It's obviously in the area, getting updates.

I was tempted to stop. There was plenty of space to park, and I thought of pulling over to take a photo of the car. I talked myself out of pulling over. I don't know why I didn't stop. I had immediately told myself that it wasn't important.

Moments later, as I drove down the highway, I regretted my decision. I should have taken a photo, I told myself. At least, I'd have something to blog about or post on Facebook.

Ten minutes later, after I arrived home and transferred my photos from my camera to my PC, I got back into the car and drove in the direction of the airport. The traffic was so heavy, I expected the Google Maps Street View car to still be parked in front of the airport. After all, it would be difficult for the car to get very good street view photos. Too many cars blocking the view.

When I arrived at the spot where I had earlier seen the car, it had already moved on. I was kicking myself was missing a great photo opportunity. Driving up the highway would be difficult for the car, but I suppose it had an option of turning right just past the airport onto the road Google Maps calls the Western Nautical Highway. That road goes by the Carmelite Monastery and the St. Joseph Seminary College and makes it's way along the coastline in Cangmating, Sibulan. There wouldn't be any traffic at all, to speak of on that road.

Of course, I don't have any idea of the ins and outs of the scheduling of the Google Maps' car's itinerary. Obviously, Google's in the area for a reason. Is it possible that my recent addition of "missing businesses" to that area has prompted Google to send the car out to review the additions. I've added several new places onto Google maps.....a few were instantly approved (like the Maslog Barangay Hall and the Seventh-Day Adventist Church) but many are still up for review. What is Google's process for reviewing new place additions? Is that why the car is in the area?

Maybe, I'm putting too much importance on my participation. Maybe the Google Street View car being in my area is just a coincidence.

Pecan Pies

One of the least desirable aspects of living in Philippines is the difficulty, if not impossibility, of getting the ingredients for the food dishes I grew up eating in the American South.

Not everything is a problem - fruits, like watermelon are available year 'round. You can't go out and buy a sausage and biscuit, but at least flour and Crisco are easy enough to get, so making biscuits at home solves that. Finding good fried chicken isn't difficult either. Jollibee, Chow King, and even McDonald's serve up really great fried chicken, and for the purist there are pretty respectable KFCs here.

Okra is widely available, but lots of luck finding yellow squash or a decent tomato.

The biggest problem, for me, is finding items needed for traditional Southern desserts. Making a banana pudding is......uh....a piece of cake - you can't find vanilla wafers, but there are cookies that can be used as a substitute. I've never seen a frozen, pre-made pie crust here. If you want a sweet potato pie, you have to learn to make your own crust. That's doable, I guess.

No, the biggest problem is finding the ingredients for pecan pie. OK, you can make your own crust, and finding Karo Syrup isn't as difficult as you might think. The real obstacle in having that pecan pie for Thanksgiving or Christmas is the absence of the one, absolutely necessary ingredient - pecans.

After living here for two years without seeing a pecan, I was in for a surprise when I stopped by a business in Dumaguete called Yan Yan Commercial. Yan Yan specializes in carrying everything one might need for baking. The regular items, such as flour, baking powder and sugar (refined, brown, or confectioners) are cheaper there than anywhere else in Dumaguete. The same goes for whipped cream, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk. I've even seen canned fruits - peaches and blueberries - on their shelves. The big shock, for me, was seeing bags of shelled pecans in the cooler near the cash registers.

I couldn't resist looking at the price while I was checking out. A 1 kilo bag is priced at 1450 Philippine peso.

Let me translate that for my American friends. 1 kilo is 2.2 lbs. At the current rate of exchange, 1450 Philippine pesos comes to.........just over $31.00. Let that sink in.

Thirty one dollars for a two & 2/10 pound bag of pecans.

I knew the pecans would be high. Heck, in Georgia, where pecans are grown, they ain't cheap. But, good Lord, I didn't expect $14.00 a pound.

Looks like it'll be quite some time before I have another pecan pie.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Additional Photos Uploaded To Google Maps.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've been adding photos of different places in Dumaguete and Sibulan onto Google Maps. At the time of that post, I had added photos for 40 locations in the area - with multiple photos for most locations. Now, after less than 24 hours, my total has increased to 72 different locations, with nearly 300 individual photos.

Logging in, I can see how times a particular photo has been viewed. What's amazing to me is that in less than 12 hours, more than 50 people have viewed my photo of the Ceres Line Bus Terminal. Why?

Nearly 40 people have viewed my photo of the McDonald's near the Cathedral in the same amount of time. This just seems so odd to me. Are there that many people going to Google Maps to get around in Dumaguete?

To see the photos I've added, click here then click on the photos section.

I'll be adding more later today.

An Unexpected Parade

Having fed Olivia, Peppa and George this morning, my wife and I were headed back toward our apartment, when we came upon an unexpected parade. Unexpected by my wife and myself, at any rate.

We had no idea who was parading, or why.

Unfortunately, having taken so many photos for Google Maps recently, I wasn't aware that my camera battery was so low; I wasn't able to get many photos of the parade. These photos don't give justice to the size of the parade. It wasn't huge, but it was bigger than can been seen from these few photos.

Olivia, Peppa , and George

This morning, my wife and I went to the property in Magatas to take feed for the pigs. I'm not sure if they had been fed before we arrived, but they were crying for food as soon as we approached the front of the piggery.

The photos taken this morning as we fed them, show the growth of the pigs since we purchased the three on July 12. The pigs were born about six weeks (or so) when we bought them. That would put their DOB around May 31. So, the three are about 12 weeks old - give or take.

Only one side of the piggery is completely finished. It looks like we may need to start on completing the other half soon. The largest pig (Olivia) pushes and shoves the others (Peppa and George) when feeding and I think separating her will allow the smaller two to eat more and put on weight.

I'm not certain if I posted photos of the piggery after the nipa roof was finished. I took photos of the piggery today, so I'll go ahead and include those with the photos of Olivia, Peppa, and George...uh...pigging out.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Google Maps

After receiving yesterday's email from Google Maps letting me know that my photos of the St. Anthony of Padua parish church in Sibulan had been viewed over 5,000 times, I thought I'd add more to Google Maps - not only additional photos, but reviews and even adding the location of a few businesses. The added business locations are up for review.

It was fairly easy adding photos. I've taken so many for the website, that it was quick work uploading them all to Google Maps.

As I write this, I'm a "local guide" on Google Maps. Level three, actually. I still have two levels to go, five being the top rank. As it stands at this moment, I've written 21 reviews, added photos to 40 different locations (although I've added more than 40 photos).

Do I get anything out of this? Mostly bragging rights.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Banning Islam in America?

I don't normally use this blog to comment on Facebook memes, but I came across a jpg. on the website this morning so egregious - so anti-American that I couldn't let it slide.

The photo shows a kneeling, medieval warrior with the words "Anti-Islam. To Be Opposed To Evil is To Be Opposed To Islam! Let The Crusade Begin! Ban Islam In America!" emblazoned across it.

Has the person who created this image and the Americans sharing it actually read the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights?

For those who have either not read the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights or maybe have forgotten what's written there, allow me to post it here.

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Does this need an explanation?

If one doesn't understand this, perhaps this from the Cornell University Law School will help.

"Free Exercise Clause refers to the section of the First Amendment italicized here:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...

The Free Exercise Clause reserves the right of American citizens to accept any religious belief and engage in religious rituals. The wording in the free-exercise clauses of state constitutions that religious '[o]pinion, expression of opinion, and practise were all expressly protected' by the Free Exercise Clause.The clause protects not just religious beliefs but actions made on behalf of those beliefs. More importantly, the wording of state constitutions suggest that 'free exercise envisions religiously compelled exemptions from at least some generally applicable laws.' The Free Exercise Clause not only protects religious belief and expression; it also seems to allow for violation of laws, as long as that violation is made for religious reasons. In the terms of economic theory, the Free Exercise Clause promotes a free religious market by precluding taxation of religious activities by minority sects".

Shall I put this in simple English for Trump supporters?

You cannot ban any religion in the United States of America!

Look, I am not a supporter of Islam. I believe Muslims will spend Eternity in Hell. For that matter, I believe most Baptists, Methodists and other Protestants will do likewise, but I wouldn't consider a ban on those heresies either. There's only one way to salvation and that's through Jesus Christ via His one and only Church - The Catholic Church. If that hurts your feelings, I'm sure you'll want to ban my Right to Free Speech as well.

An Email From Google Maps

I received an email from Google Maps letting me know that photos I had posted of St. Anthony Parish Church in Sibulan, Negros Oriental had been viewed over 5,000 times. I think this is neat, considering the size and location of Sibulan. I mean, how many people are really interested in the town and our Catholic church?

I'm including screen shots from the email and a link to the photos as seen on Google Maps - Click here.

Banned By Mark Shea.....Again.

After my two posts yesterday - one where I discuss Mark Shea being fired from the National Catholic Register and another where I'm critical of Shea's Internet friend, Simcha Fisher, I find myself banned once again from commenting on Shea's Catholic and Enjoying It! blog.

This time, I wasn't banned for anything I said in a comment, but obviously because of my mentioning in one of those posts that I had gotten around the previous ban by opening a second DISCUS account.When Shea, or one of his chums read that, it was a simple matter finding out which DISCUS ID I was using.

Of course, if I really wanted to continue commenting of Shea's blog, I'd only need to open yet another DISCUS account - a fairly simple procedure. If I never let on, Shea would have to assume any new visitor was yours truly in disguise.

We know why Shea was dropped from the National Catholic Register. He is thinned skinned and often given to tantrums and his banning me a second time is a perfect example of this.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

National Catholic Register Fires Simcha Fisher

When I posted National Catholic Register Fires Mark Shea earlier this morning, I noted that, "Many of Shea's critics are calling for the dismissal of Shea's Internet friend, Simcha Fisher. More on that later."

When I wrote that sentence, I meant that I'd be writing on my impression of Fisher as a writer. I was not expecting to be writing on her being fired from the National Catholic Register today as well.

There was a time, a few years ago, when I was a fan of Fisher's writing. I would frequently make my way to the Register just to read what she just put online. There was something about Fisher's.....huh....sarcasm which I found creative. I was, however, to change my opinion of her writing over time.

In one of those posts from 2012, Fisher wrote of her love for the book, The Egg and I  by Betty MacDonald. I was familiar with the 1947 comedy film based on the book and on Fisher's recommendation, I went to the local library and checked out a copy of the book. I enjoyed MacDonald's writing so much that upon finishing one book, I immediately checked out another of her books, The Plague and I ,which chronicles her nine month stay in a tuberculosis sanitarium.

It was the reading of the two MacDonald books which put an end to my enjoyment of Simcha Fisher as a writer. It became obvious to me, that what I had enjoyed about Fisher was actually her imitation of Betty MacDonald. Fisher wasn't the original writer I had imagined her to be, but a 2nd rate writer attempting to copy the style of a superior writer.

After this revelation, I read Fisher's posts less frequently, until pretty much giving her up entirely. Her appearances on Shea's Connecting the Dots podcasts did little to change my mind; I found her rather boring the few times I attempted to listen.

Because I had given up reading Fisher's writings (due to her lack of creativity) I was unaware of the increased vulgarity many were now complaining of.

Naturally, Mark Shea stands with Simcha Fisher. He is more impressed with her writing than I, believing that she could be "making a million bucks" with her writing. Shea also claims that the excuse used to have Fisher fired was her occasional use of the word "shit" (which he calls the English equivalent of "skubala") as well as a few "bawdy dick jokes" on her Facebook page. I personally don't object to someone using the word "shit" from time to time. I've been known to say it a few times myself. I will admit though, that I've written the word more in this blog post than I have in all my previous posts combined.

Shea believes the real reason Fisher was fired was her dislike of Donald Trump. As I said, I haven't read anything Fisher has written lately, and I certainly don't follow her on Facebook or Twitter so I'm unaware of anything she may have said or written about Trump or Clinton. I can't fault her for not being a Trump supporter. Anyone familiar with this blog knows how I feel about the candidates for POTUS.

Mark Shea - and at least one person commenting on his post - are upset that anyone would treat a "mother of 10" in such a fashion. I don't know all the ins and outs of Fisher's firing; I don't know if it's justified or not. However, whether one is a "mother of 10" or a mother of none, your qualifications as a writer is not determined by the number of offspring you have.

National Catholic Register Fires Mark Shea

On August 19, Mark Shea published a post entitled Teen Trump Supporter Kicked Out of Trump Rally. The subject of that particular post isn't the point of my post - actually, it's subject isn't relevant to what I have to say. In his post, someone left a comment, for Mark telling him that he was no longer listed as a blogger at National Catholic Register. I immediately went to the Register website and found that, indeed Shea was not listed among their bloggers.

Thinking there was simply a glitch involved, I typed in, which took me to Shea's blog posts; the last one being published just four days earlier. After reading on Shea's blog that he had been fired from National Catholic Register, I checked my DISQUS comments to verify the date. Doing that, I learned that my comment, as well as the comment that prompted it, were removed.

I'm not really surprised that the comment would have been removed, considering that Shea has closed the comments on his post announcing his firing.

From LarryD's blog (Acts of the Apostasy) I learned that, after hearing of the dismissal,many of Shea's detractors were "shamefully gleeful", leaving snarky comments on more than a few websites and blogs.

One blog even has a online poll, asking readers if Mark Shea is a Catholic.

Many of Shea's critics are also calling for the dismissal of Shea's Internet friend, Simcha Fisher. More about that later.

I've had my ups and downs with Shea.....even to the point of being banned from commenting on his patheos blog; a problem later solved by my opening a second DISQUS account. However, even with these ups and downs, I have to agree with LarryD that those accusing Shea of heresy and heterodoxy are guilty of defamation.

For the record, I'm not happy about Shea's dismissal - but, their decision doesn't sadden me either. While I'm sad that Shea's family will suffer a loss of income, I understand why the Register did as they did and believe it was probably justified.

Hillary's Health Problems......Are They Just Mental?

In a recent editorial, The Atlantic maintains that speculation into Hillary Clinton's health is merely the 2016 version of the anti-Obama Birther Issue. With the calls to question Hillary's health being lead by the likes of former New York city Mayor Rudy Guiliani and The Drudge Report, I can understand where the editors might get that impression, but that flies in the face of similar comments made by medical specialist and TV personality Dr. Drew Pinsky - who is said to be gravely concerned about Clinton's health, and medical treatment - as well as recent statements by Rutgers University Professor of Medicine, Dr. Robert Lahita, that concerns over Clinton's health are most certainly not a conspiracy theory.

It is ironic that Hillary's health questions are being compared to the Birther Issue after recent analysis from the Washington Post prove that the anti-Obama Birther movement was started in 2007 and 2008 by Hillary Clinton, her campaign, and her Democrat supporters.

I guess we can say that, not only is HRC a bitch, so is Karma.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

No Bathing in Burkinis

After posting an earlier piece on France banning burkinis on beaches, I came upon this cartoon on

It seems like everyone agrees with me that banning the burkini isn't the way to go. Even the Jerusalem Post says we should ban men, not burkinis.

France Bans the Burkini

In France, where liberté,égalité, fraternité is the national, tripartite motto, (as opposed to the U.S.A., where the tripartite motto is sex, drugs, rock&roll) a number of freedom loving communities have issued a ban on the burkini - a modest, full bodied swimsuit worn by some Muslim women- calling the swimming attire part of the "enslavement of women".

Mayors in some French towns considering the ban, have never actually seen a burkini. In France, apparently, a liberated woman must be immodestly, never modestly, dressed at all times.

Those supporting the ban maintain the issue is not Islamophobia, but about some folks desire to control women's bodies. Just like abortion, I guess.

In the country where I live, the women are inclined to wear more modest beachwear compared to the typical American or French woman. Although not prohibited, by any means, because of their concern for modesty, as well as skin protection, one is more likely to see a Filipina dressed in a bulky t-shirt and shorts, while swimming, rather than a skimpy bikini. If given only two choices of swim wear - a tiny, skimpy bikini or a burkini - I suspect the average Filipina will choose the more modest swimsuit.

However, if we're talking women's liberation, the Filipinos have managed to do something neither the French or Americans have done - elect a female President, twice.

So much for liberté, égalité, fraternité.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ

In a few days, a remake of Ben-Hur will be released in the U.S.. Cal Thomas gives the remake a favorable review, but, sadly, it doesn't seem likely that it will be opening near me any time soon.

It's been ages since I watched the 1959 version. I do recall enjoying it as a kid.

It wasn't until I read Thomas' review, that the original novel by Lew Wallace appeared on my radar. Published in 1880, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ was a best seller, surpassing Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin in sales. The novel remained at the top of the best sellers list until the publication of Gone With The Wind. Pope Leo XIII blessed the novel......making it the only work of fiction to be blessed by any Pope.

I read Uncle Tom's Cabin in 2011 and Gone With The Wind last year. I decided to download Ben-Hur from Project Gutenberg and complete that bucket list.

I'm only 15% into the e-book, but it looks to be superior to Gone With The Wind.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Will Trump Surprise Us All?

I've been predicting since it became obvious that Clinton and Trump would be the nomineesfor the two major parties, that the race would come down to which of these despicable candidates is more hated by the American voters, and that Clinton would win because she is hated slightly less than Donald Trump.

In an recent opinion piece, Monica Crowley has a different spin on the election. Crowley lists both candidates' views on the current state of the U.S. and maintains that, while polls show Clinton in the lead, the American people actually support Trump's view on the current condition of the country.

My track record for predicting the results of previous elections for POTUS hasn't been stellar. I'm more often wrong than I am right. Crowley's column leads me to think that my current prediction of a Clinton win might be wrong and Trump may surprise everyone. We'll just have to wait and see.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Pantsuit Should've Been a Clue

Republicans Help Elect First Female POTUS

The latest Fox News "2016 Scorecard", released on August 09, has the Electoral College battleground map, which shows the race for POTUS leaning in Clinton's favor. To become POTUS, Trump must win all the solid GOP states, the lean GOP states, all the toss-up states and at least one lean Dem states; an impossible feat.

Republicans should be ashamed of themselves. Hillary Clinton has to be the most flawed and least popular candidate ever nominated by the Democrats, and the Republicans nominate the only candidate that cannot wipe the floor with her.

Donald Trump may well indeed have some dyed in the wool, true blue followers, but the majority of the support going to either candidate is actually a vote against the other. As much as Hillary Clinton is despised through out the US, the Republicans pick a candidate who is hated even more than Hillary.

The Trumpettes claim to be for "anyone but Hillary". Why couldn't these never Hillary folks gone for someone more favorable to the American public?

Had the Republicans followed my advice and gone with a Rubio/Fiorina (or vice versa) the Republicans would be currently pulverizing the Clinton campaign.

This will go down as the election where the Republicans put Hillary Clinton in the White House.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Trump Wants Ban on Legal Immigration from Philippines

When I first came upon a story, linked to on Facebook, that Donald Trump had listed immigrants from Philippines as coming from one of a number of "terrorist nations that shouldn't be allowed because you can't vet them", I was a bit skeptical.

After all, we're talking about, 1) the Internet, 2) Facebook and 3) Donald Trump. I assumed that the story was just another Trumpian Internet rumor - something less than true, used to stir up anger against the Donald.

It appears that I was mistaken.

At a rally in Portland, Maine, Trump provided a lengthy explanation of why he thinks the United States needs to be skeptical of immigrants from many countries, even if they follow the legal process. Trump did indeed reference Philippines as one of these "terrorist nations".

Needless to say, Filipinos are not happy with Trump. In an opinion piece, one Philippine newspaper called Trump everything but a white man. In addition to calling Donald a jingoist, a fear monger and reckless, in a separate editorial, the paper said Trump had "orange skin and [the] ridiculous hair".

In a bill filed in the Philippine House of Representatives, one lawmaker is seeking to permanently ban Trump from entering the country.

In some ways, it's understandable that some might link Philippines with terrorism; Recently, the terror group Abu Sayyaf beheaded 2 Canadian nationals and have kidnapped several more foreigners. It's difficult, however, to stand behind Trump on this when one knows countless Filipinos who are most definitely not terrorists.

There's little to worry about in regards to Trump. I've said, on more than one occasion, that Clinton will most likely defeat Trump in the election for POTUS. I don't say this because I prefer one candidate over the other - I dislike them both - but I believe the 2016 election will come down to which one is hated less. In this case, I believe slightly fewer Americans despise Hillary than Trump. I know, having to choose between those two is like trying to decide if you'd prefer mustard or mayo on your fecal sandwich. These two are the candidates the American voters have chosen, and they're stuck with them.

The "Hey Joe Show" Blows

A few weeks ago, we learned that the "Hey Joe Show" would be coming to Robinson's Mall in Dumaguete as part of their 2016 tour. My wife, my son and myself are fans of their videos on Youtube, and we were looking forward to seeing them in person.

For those unfamiliar with the "Hey Joe Show", they are a group of five young, very, very white guys who are very popular in the Philippines due primarily to their fluency in Bisaya (Cebuano). Five, reasonably attractive white guys who speak a Filipino language.......what else can a young Filipina ask for?

When I say these guys are very, very white, I mean it. It's obvious that none of these guys have any Filipino ancestry, and I was confused, when I first came upon the group on line, as to why they were so fluent in Bisaya. It was their total white bread image that finally gave me a clue.

These guys had to be Mormons. They have Donny Osmond and Mitt Romney written all over them and because of their world wide missonary activities, Mormons have a training center in in Provo, Utah.where 56 languages are taught.

The "Hey Joe Show" was scheduled to begin at 5:00 PM at the Mall. Apparently, the young men take their "Amerikanong Bisaya" label seriously; the show was over 30 minutes late getting started. The guys were chauffeured by van into the Mall well after 5:30. That didn't set well with me.I had begun to think that this was a "No Show, Joe Show". While the "Joes" sat in their van, the crowd was "entertained" by folks from the audience playing a rather pointless game. Eight young people (seven girls, one boy) sat in chairs and attempted to move a chocolate "coin" from the forehead to the mouth, using only facial muscles - no hands allowed. When this game ended, and we learned that another game was set to begin, my son told us he was hungry and we left the show and made our way to Jolliebee.

After eating, we left the Mall without seeing the five Joes. It was a completely disappointing experience. It was after six when we left, and the boys were still sitting in the van. I have no idea when the actuall show started, but frankly, I couldn't care less.

The "Hey Joe Show" blows.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Pigs and Pies

Being retired and on a fixed income. I'm always looking for ways to earn a bit more of what W.C. Fields called the elusive spondulix. This search has lead us to purchase piglets which we'll raise for breeding stock.

Today, we bought a different type of commercial feed for the piglets; we've been feeding them feed especially formulated for newly weaned piglets. That particular feed is fairly expensive and I'm glad we can finally make the change.

Still, the new feed sells for 33 pesos per kilo when purchased in small amounts. Buying the feed in 50 kilo sacks, the price is reduced to 1,460 peso per sack. (in American, that's 110 lbs for about $31)

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the neutered male will be slaughtered in 3 or four months; the two females can't be bred until February, that's a lot of feed for an, as yet, unproductive animal.

In addition to the pig project, we've also started a little dessert business, selling banana pudding and assorted pies. We've only just started - the desserts are made at home in our kitchen and folks order, mostly via Facebook. The business is small, but we're making enough to keep the pigs fed. We're supplementing the commercial feed with the Trichanthera gigantea that grows on our property. Now, I've learned that the pigs can eat the dried banana skins we would have discarded in the making of the banana pudding.

In addition to the swine feed, we bought padlocks and a bit of chain to keep the door to the piggery safe from dishonest neighbors. There'll be additional work done on the piggery roof, in the odd chance that these pigs can fly.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Dead Snake, in the Middle of the Road

I was beginning to believe that there were no snakes on Negros Island. I've been living here for over two years, and have been visiting the island since 2000, and until this morning, I hadn't come across any evidence to prove otherwise.

There are no shortages of lizards on the island. They're everywhere, even making their way into even the best of houses. Frogs aren't rare either. When we get an especially heavy rain, frogs will be washed up onto the paved areas in our apartment complex, and when walking along the road, I'll come upon countless frogs that hadn't been able to dodge the traffic.

No, until my morning walk today, I hadn't seen a live snake, a dead snake or even a snake skin shed through ecdysis. I came upon this particular snake near the Sibulan ice plant while walking to the market. Normally, I'd have my camera with me during my walk, but this morning I had left the camera in the apartment. Returning home after the walk, I grabbed the camera and headed back for a photo. I knew I'd be posting something about the dead snake and, like all my blog posts, I wanted this post to carry a photo. Fortunately, the snake was fairly close to the apartment. I don't know if I would have wanted to walk back for a photo, had it been killed closer to the market.

It's difficult to get a proper idea of the size of this snake from the photo; there's no frame of reference. Looking at the photo, it could a little critter, or a big scary monster. I didn't measure it, but I'd estimate its length to be about 1/2 meter. I've seen lots of Georgia snakes that could have this one for breakfast.