Thursday, March 23, 2017

Inappropriate Appropriation

I first became aware of inappropriate appropriation about a year ago when I came upon the story of a San Francisco State University environmental science student named Cory Goldstein who was attacked by a black student for sporting dreadlocks on campus. I felt at the time that, as more black men choose to shave their heads rather than sport dreadlocks, it was more likely that I would be guilty of cultural appropriation by shaving my head. Other than a very few Rastafarians, black men - as a general rule - don't wear dreadlocks.

Not long after that post, I had pretty much forgotten about inappropriate appropriation until I came upon a story of Hispanic students at Pitzer College in Claremont, California protesting the wearing of hoop earrings by white girls. They accused the white girls of "appropriating styles … that belong to the black and brown folks" and "exploiting the culture."

Not long after reading the Pitzer College story, I came upon a news item about a Canadian New Democratic party candidate pleading guilty to - and apologizing for - her inappropriate appropriation by quoting Beyoncé in a Tweet.

With these examples of inappropriate appropriation, I was certain that I had seen the pinnacle of Progressive racial craziness. I was wrong, however.

No, the ultimate expression of Liberal lunacy came when I came upon an editorial piece by daily49er Staff Writer, Samantha Diaz who believes milk has become a new sign of racism in America.

Diaz writes,
Milk has now become a symbol of racial superiority for white nationalists and neo-Nazis, claiming that their ability to process milk makes them racially superior.

Like many commenting on the article, I believed that Diaz was either insane or a clever satirist. I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, until I took a look at other samples of editorial writing by Diaz. Sadly, she shows no sign in any of her other articles of having any talent for satirical writing. It looks as if she was entirely serious when she told us that milk is the new symbol of hate.

No word on the status of chocolate milk and whether it is another example of inappropriate appropriation.

Rugby?


One of the sports networks available on cable in Philippines - and not available in the U.S. - and quickly becoming one of my favorites is Setanta Sports. The network broadcasts Rugby football matches - both Rugby league and Rugby union. Until coming across this network, I had no understanding of Rugby. Not only did I not know the rules of the game, but I had no idea that there were two versions of the game. Not being able to watch College Football from the U.S., Rugby has become my favorite form of football - it's far and away better than soccer.

Now that I'm beginning to appreciate the game, I find that I prefer Rugby union over Rugby league. Although the rules of the game as followed by the two codes are very similar, I have noticed differences concerning tackling and the Scrum. The Scrum in Rugby union is a bit more rough and tumble than Rugby league Scrum. These additional rough and tumble aspects lead me to choose union over league matches, if given an option.

Saturday on the Setanta network is the day for Super Rugby - the largest rugby union competition in the southern hemisphere, consisting of teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

In addition to the Setanta network, Rugby matches are also shown on other European based cable channels in Philippines. I've been able to watch northern hemisphere matches between French teams as well as teams from Great Britain and Ireland.  My friends in the U.S. don't know what they're missing.

Still In The Wilderness

I usually get out the Kindle while I'm in bed waiting for sleep. I'll read until I get too sleepy to continue. This nightly habit explains why I haven't gotten further along with my reading list.
I've mentioned the current novel, In the Wilderness quite a few times. In 2014, I had read this particular novel, along with three other works by Robert Smythe Hichens, but I had failed to make a note of having read it. I put the neglect down to the accidental destruction of my Kindle that year while we were traveling to Dumaguete.

I had completely forgotten the very beginning of the novel when the two main characters first meet. It was when the characters had begun their honeymoon in Greece that I noticed that the book was becoming very familiar to me. As I got further along, the upcoming sections of the novel were returning to memory. I'm 3/4 of the way through this re-reading and details are becoming less clear. I remember certain situations that are about to occur in the novel, although I can't recall exactly how the novel ends.

Be that as it may, In the Wilderness is currently my favorite of the seven books I've read in the list of the top ten best sellers of 1917.

In the novel, The Kasîdah of Hâjî Abdû El-Yezdî by Sir Richard Francis Burton plays a prominent role. The Kasîdah was written by Burton, but at the time of it's publication, Burton claimed that the work was a translation of a Persian text. It was not known at the time that The Kasîdah was not simply a translation, but an original work by Burton. It's unclear to me if that information was known to Hichens at the time. The characters in In the Wilderness certainly believe it to be an ancient text.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Last Night's Brown-out

Early yesterday evening, not long after sunset - maybe around 6:00 or 6:30, while I was engaged in a quixotesque search to find an entertaining television program, the electrical power went out. Another brown-out.

Immediately, all the Americans living in this small apartment complex were outdoors, complaining about the unreliable status of the Philippine power grid. We were particularly frustrated because our island's electrical power comes from a nearby geo-thermal plant, and considering the size of the island, we shouldn't be experiencing the number of power outages that we do.

Rather than sit in the dark apartment, without AC or electric fans, my son and I hopped in the car and drove toward the Poblacion Barangay. Doing this, we discovered that the brown-out wasn't a large scale one. Not only did the brown-out not affect much of Sibulan, the electricity was out in only one very small area along the road - spanning maybe, 300 yards. Unfortunately for us, our apartment complex fell within that minuscule area.

The problem was coming from the same location that had brought on the brown-out ten days ago. As we drove toward Poblacion, we could see a repair truck parked beside the pole and two workers at the top end of a ladder. We weren't out very long, and when we returned to the area, the truck had gone, giving us hope that the electricity had been restored. No such luck.

We could only hope that the workers had left to fetch an electrical part - a fuse or transformer - that could be easily connected.

It was still relatively early, but with no electricity, there was nothing to do but head on to bed and sleep through the brown-out. Even when one is sleepy, it is difficult to fall asleep when the temperature is high and no fans to help cool off. I was still awake when the power returned - actually it was only 9:30. I turned on the bedroom fans and had no further trouble going to sleep.

The photo used here is of the guilty power pole as it looked this morning when I went for my daily walk. There's not much to see, but blog posts must have an accompanying photo - no matter how innocuous the photo.

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Dog's Life - Part Two


Here we have photos of two dogs that could have been included in yesterday's post, A Dog's Life. Better late than never.

The Book List and Two Wars


Of the first six books in the top ten best sellers of 1917, three of those make reference to the First World War (AKA The Great War). The war, after all, was going on at the time so it's only natural that popular books would make some mention of it.

Of those three, two also reference the 2nd Boer War, which is why I've also made a detour to learn more of that conflict by reading The Great Boer War by Arthur Conan Doyle.

As I've mentioned in an earlier post, I've finished the first six in the list and have started on number seven, In the Wilderness by Robert S. Hichens. At this point, there is absolutely no question that I read this book in 2014, when I had read three other novels by Hichens as well. 2014 was the year my first Kindle was damaged beyond repair while flying to Dumaguete from the U.S. and I may simply have forgotten to take note of In the Wilderness at the time. That would explain why I don't have an earlier copy of the e-book.

Most of the book is coming back to me as I reread it. I had forgotten that this book also references the 2nd Boer War. At this point in the novel, the fighting at Ladysmith, Mafeking and Magersfontein had been fought and had led to a call for British men to volunteer to serve in the army. Dion, the protagonist of In the Wilderness has volunteered and is on a ship bound for South Africa.

At this point in Conan Doyle's book, I am just learning of Ladysmith, Mafeking and Magersfontein.

As it's been more than three years and probably 100 books since my reading of In the Wilderness, and I don't recall if Hichens mentioned the First World War in addition to the Great Boer War. I'll find out soon enough.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A Dog's Life


As a general rule, I rarely write or say anything critical of this country where I have chosen to live. Like the United States - or any other country, for that matter - Philippines is not perfect. However, I've found that being critical of this country - with even constructive criticism - gets you nowhere. Like the response given by many Americans when foreigners are critical of the U.S., many Filipinos will say, "If they (the foreigners) don't like it, they can leave".

But, with the situation found here concerning dogs, it's difficult for me to remain quiet.

To say that some areas of Philippines has a problem with stray dogs would be an under statement. I can't speak for other cities in the country, but our area, obviously has no agency for controlling stray animals. There is no animal control agency (that I'm aware of) no dog-pound, and no money to change the status quo.

Of course, it's been discussed on Facebook; everyone is unhappy about it. Usually, the health issue is brought up, with the threat of rabies being top on the list. In all honesty, however, I've yet to hear of a verifiable case of rabies here. The biggest health threat brought on by these stray dogs is the number of traffic accidents involving motorcycles and a dog in the road.

Obviously, an accident between a dog and a larger vehicle - a car, truck, easy-ride, or even a pedicab - will end in the death of the dog with little harm to the driver or passengers of the larger vehicle. An accident involving a motorcycle is a different story. I am aware of quite a few people who've been in such accidents and it's the lucky rider who doesn't spend time in the hospital as a result of the wreck.

The solution?

Many people reading this won't like my solution to the problem, but I see no other way other than killing the dogs. I've been called barbaric for this, but, really- what other choice is there?






Wednesday, March 15, 2017

1 in 5 Kids Can't read Analog Watch

A report from kfor.com says that a study shows that 80% of Oklahoma City students can't read an analog watch. Of course, some are upset by this.

Contrarian that I am, this bothers me not one little bit. Why should this bother anyone?

The analog system of telling time is obsolete. The old school watch face evolved from the sun dial and it was once a logical step in knowing the time of day.
But, in the 21st century, with cell phones, and watches using digital displays, what's the point?

Being able to read an analog clock is about as useless as being able to change horseshoes - something cool to talk about, but of no real value in the real world.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Man in Pikachu Onesie Tazed and Arrested


According to sputniknews.com, one Steven Goodwine, Jr. age 27, was tazed and arrested after he began fighting with bouncers who had kicked him out of a bar in Arlington, Virginia. The peculiar aspect of this incident was that Mr. Goodwine was dressed in an outfit referred to as a "Pikachu onesie".

Being ignorant as to just what that is, I Googled the term Pikachu “onesie” to find a photo. The photos here come from the website for Target. To my understanding, the man in these photos is not Mr. Goodwine, but a model.

Something Good to Say About DST.

When living in the U.S., I made no secret of my dislike for Daylight Saving Time. I never bought into the lie that, somehow the scheme increased daylight hours. The whole thing was simply manipulation of the clock and it really made no difference if you called sundown 8 or 9 o'clock.

Being so close to the equator, it would make absolutely no sense for Philippines to buy into Daylight Saving Time. The sun comes up and goes down at pretty much the same time all throughout the year and sanity concerning DST is one of the things I like about living here. No more Spring Forward - Fall Back for me.

But, after all these years, I have something nice to say about DST. During the winter months, when the U.S. is on Standard Time, Philippines is 13 hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone. When it's 5 PM in New York, it's 6 AM the following day here. When the U.S. goes over to DST, we are 12 hours ahead of New York. So now, with DST being in effect, one of my favorite TV shows, The Five, airs at 5 AM local time instead of 6 AM. Now, I'm able to watch the entire program without interruption. When it airs at 6 AM Philippine time, I have to leave half way through to take my son to school.

I can now watch the entire hour.......at least until Fall when the U.S. changes over once again.

Puncak Tanawan


Thanks, in part to two different  Facebook pages, a hiking trail in Sibulan, which ends in an area called Puncak Tanawan, is becoming very popular. About a week ago, my wife first mentioned the hiking area to me, and a day later an employee at the bank I use, told me the area was "trending on Facebook".

The result of this talk was a Sunday afternoon hike after church this past weekend involving my wife and myself, along wife a brother-in-law and my wife's three sisters.

According to a sign at the beginning of the hiking area, the trail is 3.3 kilometers long. I would dispute that number, although I have no way of measuring the distance. Be that as it may, the hike is all uphill and not for the faint of heart. The first 300 meters or so can only be done by foot, but at one point along the way, habal habal are available. Believing I couldn't make it, my wife insisted that I take a habal habal, but when the driver fell over twice before we had gone 250 meters, I insisted that I walk.

Local residents have set up small concession stands along the hike, so getting fruit or water isn't a problem. At one such concession I saw cigarettes by the stick for sale, although I can't imagine anyone wanting a cigarette after hiking this mountain.

The view of Dumaguete, Sibulan, and the islands of Cebu, Siquijor and Apo Apo is impressive. When we first arrived at the mountain plateau, however, Pancuk Tanawan was covered with clouds and, for a time the view was disappointing. The clouds did burn away, and I was able to get a few nice photos.

I made a point of taking my iPhone with me so that I could get the latitude and longitude in order to put the location onto Google Maps. For those interested, finding the trail is not that difficult. Taking the National Highway to Sibulan, you turn onto Bulago Rd. and follow it until the road dead ends at the trail entrance - about 5 or 6 kilometers from the National Highway. There is a small fee to park your vehicle at the entrance.

Although I found the climb difficult, I'd like to make the hike a regular thing. It's obvious in the photo that I'm short of breathe. I suppose it is because of the difficulty I experienced that I want to return in order to increase my stamina. We'll see how that works out.



Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Cafe Racer Half-Beetle


Out where EJ Blanco Dr. meets Flores Ave. in Dumaguete, we find the Cafe Racer Diner  next to the Lantaw Native Restaurant.

My wife, my son and I had lunch with friends at Lantaw this afternoon, where I noticed something in front of the Cafe Racer which I didn't recall seeing before. As can be seen in the photos, it is a half VW Beetle.

Of course, I had to have photos for my collection of Beetle photos taken for this blog. From my table in Lantaw, I also had not noticed that this particular half VW is used for grilling.


Friday, March 10, 2017

I've Been Dying to Post This


The tropical, Philippine sun can be brutal at times. The top photo is of a pair of cargo shorts - originally brown - that have faded into assorted shades of tan after being frequently washed and hung out to dry in the sun.

I have been meaning to dye the shorts back to their original color, but I've had difficulties finding dye. The material was perfectly fine - only faded - and I was unwilling to throw the shorts in the trash. I was finally able to locate a brand of dye -Venus Dye - in small sachets at Cang's. Surprisingly, the dye was located in the school supply area of the store. Only two colors are available at Cang's. Fortunately for me, one of those two colors is brown - the other being yellow.

The sachets cost 3 pesos each. That 6 cents in U.S. spondulicks. I purchased three sachets to see if I could dye the shorts back to a reasonable shade of solid brown. I had two pair of faded brown cargo shorts and used only one sachet per pair of shorts. The after photo below shows a vast improvement, though I admit 2 sachets per shorts might have been better.

I've other shorts that have under gone a similar fade. I'll be on the look out for other colors of dyes at different locations.

A Mystery

I mentioned earlier that book #7 on the list of the top ten best sellers of 1917 was In the Wilderness by Robert Smythe Hichens. I also mentioned in that earlier post than I am familiar with Hichens, having read three of his novels in 2014.

There is something peculiar about this novel, which I'm having difficulty understanding. Not having read the novel before, I was obviously unfamiliar with the beginning chapters of the book. However, as I had gotten further along in the story, it seemed all too familiar to me - as if I had read this previously. The story seemed so familiar, in fact, that I went back to all of my earlier book lists to see if I had indeed read In the Wilderness and had simply forgotten about it.

I have been unable to find any record of my having read the novel before now and I have no explanation as to why the story seems so familiar to me.

It's entirely possible that I may have begun reading In the Wilderness but never finished it. If I had started it, but put it down, it would not appear on any of my annual book lists. The thing is, I can't find any earlier copy of the e-book in my pc to verify that I had downloaded it before now, and had I started the book, I surely would have remembered the beginning of the book and not just the plot 3 or 4 chapters in.

Very mysterious.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Minimum Wage Increase For Dumaguete

A local community Facebook page I follow -Hulagway ug Kasikas sa Dumaguete - posted an announcement yesterday that there will be a Php 13 increase in the minimum wage for the province of Negros Oriental. Dumaguete is the provincial capital.

This 13 peso increase now puts the minimum wage at 323 Philippine pesos a day. Read that sentence again. That's Php 323 a day.......not an hour, but a day.

At the current rate of exchange, that's $6.41 a day in U.S. currency. The minimum wage in this area of Philippines is less per day than the current U.S. minimum wage per hour, and we all know how far the U.S. minimum wage goes.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Today's Brown Out


I awoke some time around 3 o'clock this morning and was unable to get back to sleep. I noticed right away that the floor fan was not running and knew that there must be a brown out. As bad as it is waking too early and unable to sleep, it's even worse when there's no electricity. It's not much fun sitting in the dark with no TV or Internet available.

It had rained very hard during the night and I assumed that the power outage was due to a fallen line. I didn't think the power company would schedule a maintenance shut down at 3 AM. I expected the electricity to be back on within a few hours.

The power had still not returned when I left to fetch my son from school at lunch time. The photos show the electrical workers trimming trees and putting up a new pole not far from our apartment. When I arrived back home with my son, the power was still off, but the workers had moved on.

After lunch, we all drove into Dumaguete to shop. We returned home at nearly 4:30 and the power was back on ten minutes after we arrived. If the electric company is putting in new poles, I suspect we may have another brown out tomorrow.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

VW at Silliman Hospital


I came upon this VW Beetle parked in front of the entrance of Silliman University Hospital. It's difficult to say if I've photographed this one before. I've come across several blue Beetles, but to the best of my knowledge, this particular shade of blue isn't one I've captured.

Be that as it may, here it is.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Barbra Streisand to Buy Canadian IHOPs


In recent Tweets, noted Clinton sycophant, Barbra Streisand is claiming that Donald Trump is causing her to gain weight.

"I start the day with liquids, but after the morning news, I eat pancakes smothered in maple syrup!" Streisand on Saturday.

To satisfy her ever growing need for pancakes and maple syrup, Streisand is looking to purchase several IHOP restaurants in Canada.

"I can cover several bases at once", she said. "I can maintain a constant supply of pancakes for myself, and for all my progressives friends who have fled to Canada following Trump's taking over the White House."

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Top Ten of 1917. Six Down - Four To Go.

I've finished books numbers 5 and 6 on the list of top ten best selling books 0f 1917. #5 (Wildfire by Zane Grey) actually surpassed my expectations. Not bad, for a western.

#6 (Christine by Elizabeth von Arnim) surprised me as well. I knew I'd enjoy Christine - as I've enjoyed everything I've read of von Arnim's work - but going into it, I knew that the book was fraudulent. Arnim and her publishers presented the book as a true story, but it was actually a fictional work of propaganda, written to convince the American public to enter the First World War. I couldn't help but be saddened by Christine's death, so I can only imagine how the readers of 1917 felt - believing the story to be true.

As mentioned earlier, I began reading The Great Boer War by Arthur Conan Doyle (not on the list) to help me get through the dull parts of Wildfire, and now, I will begin  #7 on the list, In the Wilderness by Robert S. Hichens while finishing Doyle's book.

In the Wilderness will be the fourth novel by Hichens that I've read. In 2014, I read three of his novels: The Green Carnation, The Return of the Soul , and The Garden of Allah.

On a side note, in Christine, the young girl mentions having read a novel called Jerusalem by Selma Lagerlöf. Naturally, I'm curious to see why von Arnim includes this little tidbit in the story. To satisfy my curiosity, I've downloaded the e-book, to be read at a later date.

Sea Forest Beetle


We were out for a drive this afternoon, and as we neared the Sea Forest Resort I remembered that I had wanted to post a photo of the resort on Google Maps. As I pulled over at the resort entrance, I immediately saw this red VW Beetle which I knew I had never photographed before.

A few feet from the Beetle, there was parked a VW van/truck. I'm reasonably sure that the non-Beetle is the same one I posted in December.


Saturday, March 4, 2017

1 Million Views and Rising

It's been been four months since I last posted an update on the status of the photos I've uploaded to Google Maps. At that time, my photos had received just over 300,000 views. Now, those photos have been viewed in excess of 1,000,000 times.

As noted in the November post, my photo of Manhattan Suites Inn on South Road Calindagan, in Dumaguete  is my most widely viewed photograph.

Today, with more than 30,000 views, that hotel is still in first place, although the 2nd place spot has been surprisingly overtaken by my my photo of the St. Joseph parish church on Pope John Paul II Ave. in Cebu City. That particular photo had been taken from our room at Express Inn during one of our trips to the Philippine immigration office in Cebu. Prior to this, the top spots had been various hotels in Dumaguete.

The Reading List

Last week, I posted how I was having difficulty getting through book #5 in the list of the top ten best sellers of 1917 (Wildfire by Zane Grey) and would begin reading #6 on the list (Christine by Elizabeth von Arnim) to ease the burden of boredom of book #5.

As I mentioned in an earlier post today, the week was a bit Hellish and as a result, I didn't pick up the Kindle as often as I would have normally. I'm still reading books 5 and 6, but I've also left the list to read a third e-book, The Great Boer War by Arthur Conan Doyle.

I'm 83% into Wildfire and it has become more interesting; 32% into Christine and only 3% into The Great Boer War. At some point after I've finished numbers 5 and 6. I'll start on book 7 on the list, In the Wilderness by Robert S. Hichens. That book has been downloaded and is in the queue.

My Week in Review

At some point in 2016, I made an unspoken resolution that I would publish at least 366 blog post that year. That would, of course average one post a day and top my previous record from 2008 of 354 for the year. There were times during the year when I fell behind, but I would catch up by writing multiple posts on other days.

Today, March 4 is the 63rd day of 2017, and to maintain the 365 for the year I should have at least 62 posts by now. The count shows 57. I'm 5 posts behind where I'd like to be, but truth be told, even with the 5 posts deficit I'm in better shape for making the goal than I was this time last year.

Reviewing the blog yesterday, I noticed that I had gone a week without posting anything. Part of the reason for the failure to post was because my wife and I needed to travel to Cebu to pick up my I-card from the Philippine immigration office there. Traveling to Cebu from Negros island really takes a toll on me. Although it's only about 165 kilometers (about 102 miles) from Sibulan to Cebu city, it takes 41/2 to 5 hours to get there by bus. It's possible that, if I choose to have my car ferried over I could drive the distance in less time, but I doubt the time saved would be significant and I'd have to drive in Cebu city traffic - something I'd absolutely hate.

We left Sibulan by Ceres bus Tuesday at around 3:30 AM, ferried across to Cebu island, and continued on the bus into the city. We returned to Sibulan at around 5:30 PM. The trip had taken 14 hours with only about 15 minutes of that 14 hours spent at the immigration office. I was in and out with my I-card in no time at all.

Being a resident of Philippines, I have to do an annual report to immigration within the first 60 days of the calendar year. I became a probationary resident in 2015 (permanent now) and I thought I'd need to do the annual report in 2016. Failing to do the report by the deadline will result in a 1200 peso fine. Because my I-card had not been issued by the March 2nd deadline, I was told last year that a 2016 annual report was not required. However, when I went to the local immigration office in Dumaguete Wednesday to file the 2017 report, there was some question as to whether I would be penalized for not doing a report in 2016.

I had to meet with the head official of the Dumaguete immigration office to determine if I'd have to pay for 2016. My understanding was, that since my probationary I-card had not been issued until April of 2016 - well past the March 2nd deadline - I had not been required to file a 2016 annual report. The officer was insistent that, because my probationary visa had been granted in 2015, I had been required to file in 2016 (even without an I-card) and I'd have to pay for the 2016 report, plus late fee, as well as my 2017 report. While I was waiting to make the payment, the officer called a subordinate into his office and told her to call Manila to double-check. The phone call determined that I had been right and the head officer wrong. I was not required to file the 2016 report, so I only need to pay the 310 peso fee for the 2017 annual report.

I paid the 310 php, thanked the officer for following this through, and happily left the office.

Friday, March 3, 2017

First Friday of Lent


It's Lent......it's Friday..... no meat.

My son is allergic to fish, so that can only mean - pancakes for supper.

Stolen Volkswagen..........


Contrary to the title of this post, this is not a photograph of a stolen Volkswagen Beetle, but it is a stolen photo of a Volkswagen Beetle.

This particular photo was not taken by me, but rather by my neighbor while he was on the boulevard in Dumaguete. He posted the photo on Facebook and I was obliged to, huh, appropriate it for my blog.

The only VW photos I've been able to take recently are like this repeat of a VW I often see parked outside St. Paul's University. Is it any wonder I have to resort to snatching photos?