Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Mark Shea Reluctantly Finds Agreement With Jonah Goldberg

In a recent post, Mark Shea reluctantly finds himself in agreement with conservative writer, Jonah Goldberg. I say reluctantly because I suspect that Shea does not normally agree with Goldberg on very much, but now, because Goldberg is being critical of Donald Trump, Shea gives Goldberg faint praise.

I've been a fan of Goldberg for quite a long time. His 2008 book, Liberal Fascism is a favorite of mine. Goldberg's criticisms of Trump do not surprise me at all.

In Shea's blog piece - linked to above - he mentions re-reading Perelandra. My immediate reaction was that it's so typical of Shea to reference "sci-fi nerdy stuff" when trying to make a point. In all fairness, I haven't read any of C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy and I should give it a shot before being too harsh toward the work. I'm hoping that the trilogy is better than Lewis' The Screwtape Letters. I read that book in 2016 and was sadly disappointed.

The books in the trilogy - Out of the Silent PlanetPerelandra and That Hideous Strength - are in the public domain in Canada, and are available as pdf at a Canadian website. A Google search of each title, plus "pdf" will lead one where one wants to go in order to download the books.

Today's Piglet Report


Although not ripe, the fruit growing on the tree at our apartment complex has begun to fall off the tree at a pretty steady pace. It doesn't take long to collect a small bag full. After taking my son to school, and taking my morning walk, I drove out to the property in Magatas to take the collected fruit to the pigs.

My wife's papa had already fed the pigs, but being pigs, they were ready for a snack when I arrived. The adult pigs see me arrive and it's like Pavlov's dogs......they're so used to me giving them a bite to eat, that they begin squeeling right away.

I divide the fruit; I pick madre de agua leaves. The adults appear to like the leaves and the fruit equally. The piglets seem to prefer the madre de agua.

The mama pig has been removed from the pen where ahe gave birth to the piglets, and returned to one of the older pens. For the time being, the five remaining piglets will remain in the new pen. They will have to be moved, however when the now pregnant sow is ready to farrow.



Friday, July 21, 2017

Comedians' Theme Songs


In my recent post on Al Bowlly, I put up a Youtube video of Bowlly's recording, with Lew Stone's orchestra of  Love in Bloom. The tune is best remembered today as the theme song of comedian Jack Benny. It was only during these days of Youtube that I learned the song actually has lyrics.

Growing up during the early days of TV, I received a heavy dose of old radio comedians such as Benny, Bob Hope and Burns and Allen as they made the move over to television. Unlike comedians today, these comedians had "theme songs" which became identified with their persona. Benny had "Love in Bloom, Hope had Thanks for the Memory, while the theme song for Burns and Allen was The Love Nest, written by Louis Hirsch.

I learned yesterday - thanks to the Internet - that the Benny theme and the Hope theme song were both written by the same song writing team, Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin. Having died in 1924, Hirsch would not reap the financial benefits of having his music played on radio and TV every time Burns and Allen made an appearance. Likewise, Rainger died in 1942 - long before Hope's heyday on television.

Leo Robin, however, lived until 1984 - dying long before Bob Hope, but ten years after Benny. I'm hoping he was able to live comfortably on the residuals.

Problems With Facebook

Unlike probably everyone else on the planet, I still prefer to take photos using my DSLR over photos taken with a Smartphone. To me, the quality of the photos is superior when using the DSLR.

If I have a reason to edit or enhance the photo, I find the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) downloaded onto my PC to be all I need.

Generally, this has worked well for me when uploading images for this blog as well as Google Maps and until recently, it has worked well when uploading the occasional photo to Facebook. I say recently, because about two weeks ago, I began experiencing problems using Facebook on my desktop computer.

I'm not quite sure if my problems involving Facebook stem from a shoddy Internet connection or the fact that my operating system is pre-historic. Could be a combination of the two. I can access pretty much every other site I need - with few problems. My wife has continued to use Facebook on her Smartphone with no problem, so I suspect the main culprit is Facebook cookies putting a burden on my pre-Facebook PC.

I don't really like using a phone for Facebook, but if I want to use Facebook at all now, it has to be with my iPhone. It's actually for the best, I'm sure. I find I don't bother to use the website nearly as much as I once did. I liked to "share" my blog posts onto Facebook, but I can do that well enough with the phone. I don't leave as many comments on other folks' posts as I might have in the past, and that's just as well.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Recent Brown-outs


Electrical power outages - known as brown-outs in Philippines - are not uncommon events, but here in Sibulan we've seemed to have been having more than our regular share this month. For the past ten days or so, we've had at least one, sometimes two, every day.

Not so many days ago, the scuttlebutt going around was that the increase in the number of brown-outs was due to damaged transformers resulting from an earthquake the first week of July. I wasn't buying into that because most of the damage from the earthquake was in Leyte with hardly any tremors being felt on Negros.

Today, while driving out to the property in Magatas I spotted workers, in two locations, putting up new power poles. One on the old Magatas road, and another where the new diversion road meets the old road.

I suspect that this new project could somehow be related to our outages. I don't know how long this work has been going on along the diversion road, and while this seems reasonable to me, we're in Philippines, after all, and the real reason for the recent brown-outs could be something totally unreasonable.

Tambis or Makopa?


In another post [The Piglets at Four Weeks] I mentioned that I had taken some unripened fruit, which I had picked from a tree growing at the apartment complex where we live, to the piggery to serve as a treat for the pigs. The tree grows beside the area where I park my car at night.

I park my car outside the complex gate during the day to prevent sap and bits of fruit falling onto the car.

When I took the photos of the fruit tree today, I had only intended to post one with the post about the piglets. I went to the web to identify the tree before writing the earlier post, and the confusion that resulted from that search is the reason why this deserves a seperate entry.

There two related fruit trees that grow here in Philippines - the tambis and the makopa. Both are in the genus Syzygium and belong to the myrtle family. Although the fruits have reportedly different textures and tastes, there seems to be a bit of confusion as to which is which. It appears to be more complicated than "You Say 'Tomato'....."

Even after reading the article linked to above, I am not at all certain if the tree at the apartment complex is the tambis or the makopa. I don't particularly care for the taste of the ripened fruit and will only use it as pig feed, so the correct name isn't of any real importance to me at this point.



The Piglets at Four Weeks


The piglets are now one day short of being four weeks old. I went to the piggery this afternoon bearing fruit picked from a tree growing at our apartment complex. (There will be more about the tree in another post).

A portion of the fruit was given to the pregnant sow (Peppa) with most of it being dumped into the pen holding the piglets and their mama, Olivia. The fruit isn't quite ripe, but I knew the adults liked it - I believed the piglets would as well. With the fruit still being a little hard, the piglets can't seem to be able to bite into the whole piece, They have to eat the small pieces that result from the older pig chomping into the fruit and dropping bits in the process. There is still quite a lot of fruit to be picked from the tree; I'll probably let it ripen before feeding more to the pigs.

A quick look at the photos show that their are now five piglets at the piggery, rather than the six mentioned in earlier posts. The owner of the boar that impregnated Olivia was at the piggery earlier today and pick up his payment - one piglet. I told my wife's papa today that I will be giving him one piglet, as well, as a bonus for all the help he's provided. Needless to say, he's happy about that.


Al Bowlly

Yesterday I was surfing Youtube and Spotify, looking for unfamiliar music that I might enjoy listening to. That search brought me to a singer whose name was familiar although her recordings weren't - Sophie Tucker. Videos of Ms. Tucker on Youtube lead me to a brand new discovery : Al Bowlly.
Bowlly was a popular English crooner during the 1930s.

In spite of Bowlly's immense popularity during his life time, I had never heard of him. Perhaps his death during a German air attack on London lead to his soon being forgotten.

His recordings are available on Spotify, as well as videos on Youtube. During the height of his career, Bowlly was performing and recording with two orchestras - one led by Ray Noble, and the other by Lew Stone.

Examples of his work with both orchestras are below:



Monday, July 17, 2017

Trying to Get Back On Track

More than a month ago, I had just finished reading four novels by H.G. Wells and began reading Noli Me Tángere by José Rizal as translated by Charles Derbyshire. At that time, I was well in line to read 52 books this year. I was two or three books ahead of schedule, as a matter of fact. That schedule fell apart while trying to finish Noli Me Tángere. Reading the novel was slow going - to say the least. Now, I'm two books behind schedule.

Originally, I had planned on reading other Derbyshire translation of a Rizal novel - El Filibusterismo. Not now. I've downloaded the remaining works by Elizabeth von Arnim available at Project Gutenberg. Von Arnim is currently my favorite writer and reading these five books should allow me to get back on track.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Curious Google Ads

This being a blog posted on a "free" Google owned site, it doesn't cost me anything to post here. Unfortunately, it also means that I don't get paid for the things I write here. I know, some of you might consider this a case of Instant Karma. Be that as it may, I would like to earn the occasional peso or two.

To help with this yen to earn a few bucks, I have Google ads placed within this blog. I do get a dollar from time to time, but not nearly as much as I'd like.

Google ads are sensitive to content. Consequently, the fact that so many of my posts have been about my misadventures raising pigs in Philippines, there will appear ads for pig farming equipment, like the one seen in the screen shot below.



I will also see ads dealing with poultry feed. Again, this is understandable. Although I don't post anything dealing with chickens, it is about farming, after all and many who raise pigs also raise chickens.



I am puzzled, however about a recent Google ad that's come up (so to speak) involving prostate problems.



It's possible that my recent post about castrating the piglets have triggered some algorithm that brings up prostate ads.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Castrating Piglets


The first litter of piglets were 15 days old on Saturday and the males were scheduled to be castrated. Due to scheduling conflicts, my wife's papa and I were unable to get together until today. I had received word earlier that I was to meet him at the piggery at 4:30.

In the past, I've made light of this process. When my wife had mistakenly used the word "circumcision" for the more correct term, "castration", I made a joke about making the pigs Kosher by circumcising them. And today, when told to bring cotton balls when I met my wife's papa, I was thinking that soon, those would be the only balls at the piggery. However, after assisting with the castration, I'm less inclined to make jokes.

Where once my brother-in-law had been the assistant, I found myself this time seated with a piglet in my lap, holding it's legs while my wife's papa did the surgery. I can honestly say that this is the most difficult job I've ever done. It's difficult enough holding the pig while it squirms to get away, but the screams are horrendous.

At seventeen days old, the males testicles are still inside the body. When we were castrating the 2nd piglet,  we could only locate one testicle.  An article on line states that the 2nd testicle may descend to a normal position as the pig grows and the pig should be castrated later, after the testicle presents itself. Let's hope it never drops.

When the sow gave birth to these piglets, there were eight total - four male and four female. Within the first few days, two of the piglets died. One by being rolled upon by the mother, and another from what was probably anemia. I knew the first piglet to die was a spotted male, but until today, I did not know if the second piglet was male or female. Thankfully, the second was male. It's unfortunate that two of my piglets died, but I'm glad that they were male and not female. I'm not at all certain that I could have handled castrating four piglets. Two were difficult enough.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Piglets at 15 Days


As I mentioned in a post from yesterday, the piglets are 15 days old today and the males are due to be castrated. I drove to the property a little bit after 8:00 this morning to assist my wife's papa. He was not there when I arrived. His motorcycle wasn't at the property either, so he was probably out at one of the markets, selling vegetables.

At that time of day, he would have already given the pigs their morning feed, but pigs being pigs, the two adults were making a bit of a racket - their way of telling me that wanted a bite to eat. The two really only needed a snack, so to speak, so I gathered a bit of Madre de Aqua. At 15 days old, the piglets are already eating some solid food - eating some of the Madre de Aqua as well.


I'm back home, of course and have things to do. I'm not sure if or when I'll head back to the property to check on the castration. If it turns out that the males don't get snipped until tomorrow, I don't believe the extra day will matter one bit.


New Minimum Wage for Northern Mindanao

According to the About Cagayan de Oro website, a new minimum wage for northern Mindanao will take effect on July 16, 2017. As seen in the photo, the new wage can be different depending on type of work and the city where the work is done.

The new minimum wage ranges from a low of 304 Philippine pesos to a high of Php 338.

At the current rate of exchange, Php 338 is worth $6.76 in U.S. Dollars. It should be noted, however, this is not an hourly wage. The minimum wage is the daily rate. When the new wage goes into effect, these workers will be paid less per day than the current U.S. federal minimum wage per hour.

Think about that the next time you demand $15 per hour to flip burgers.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Two Million Views


The photos I've uploaded to Google Maps have surpassed two million views. The top four photos haven't changed since I last wrote on this nearly two weeks ago.

1) St Joseph parish church on Pope John Paul II ave in Cebu. (50,000+ views)
2)Our Mother of Perpetual Help Redemptorist Church in Dumaguete. (33,000+ views)
3)The Manhattan Suites Inn - also in Dumaguete. (32,000+ views)
4)The Star Oil gas station located near the airport on the National Highway. (27,000+ views)

The fact that more than 27,000 people would want to look at a photo of a gas station continues to amaze me.

The Piglets at Two Weeks


My six piglets will be 15 days old tomorrow and according to my wife's papa, it will be time to castrate the males. He will, of course, do most of the work, but I will assist in any way I can.

As I've mentioned before, there were originally eight piglets born to this sow - four male and four female. Two piglets have since died. I know that the first to die was one of the spotted male piglets. I'm don't know if the second piglet was male or female. I don't know if we'll have two or three to castrate in the morning.

In April of 2007, we came to Philippines for a visit, staying with my wife's parents and those siblings still at home. I wrote in an earlier post about my wife's papa castrating piglets one morning while we were here.

There was quite a commotion outside behind the house. The pig were squealing loudly and even the dog and roosters were in some sort of stress. My wife told me that Papa was circumcising the piglets. My first thought was that,perhaps,if what she said were true, then it might be possible to make pork Kosher.

After I had explained the difference between the definitions of circumcision and castration she admitted that her choice of words had not been the right one.


Out of basic curiosity, I had to go outside to witness the job for myself. My brother-in-law, Eugene was seated, holding the poor piglet upside down and gripping tightly it's four feet. Papa was seated directly across from Eugene with a third chair next to him. His "surgical" equipment-scissors, needle and thread, a hypodermic needle and bottles of something or other-lay on the chair.


I asked Cathy how many of the eight piglets were male. Just three, she said. It wouldn't been long, I thought, until there would be three fewer males in the group.

Return From my Brief Hiatus

It's been more than a week since my last blog post. A friend and one time co-worker arrived in Dumaguete from the U.S., and with my normal activities, spending time with my friend left little time to blog.

I've been trying to average one post a day, and this little vacation has put me eight posts behind schedule. Of course, I'll have to do as I've done a number of times this year - write more than one post per day until I get back on track. With the exception of this small mention here, I don't intend to spend too much time writing about how my time has been spent this past week.

Unlike most of my posts, I don't have an accompanying photo. Any photos taken during my time off will include friends and I don't believe I should invade someone's private space in order to get a blog post done.