Saturday, June 30, 2007

Mickey who?

Even with Die Hard 4 in the offing, the one movie that I was really looking forward to was Ratatouille. Now I find a review from Dana Stevens at Slate Magazine:
"Ratatouille moved me to tears because it was just so well-done—not kinda cute, not OK-for-a-kids'-movie, but a work of art crafted with as much passion and attention to detail as its hero, Remy the rat chef, puts into every vat of soup he makes. Ratatouille is Brad Bird's best movie yet, and from the writer-director who made two of the best American animated features of the past decade, The Incredibles and the sadly neglected Iron Giant, that's something."

Sunday, June 24, 2007

DTI slapped silly

Ms. Winnie Monsod has been smacking the DTI and the PHAP around these last few weeks regarding their opposition to the RIRR of the Milk Code here and here. I just have to quote a portion of her latest column:
"... the official position of the Department of Trade and Industry, “While we agree that ‘breastfeeding is good for babies up to two years,’ we also recognize that the practice of breastfeeding is slowly becoming uncommon, as supported by a report of the World Health Organization showing Filipinos spending P21.5 billion yearly on infant formula.”

Helloo! That “slowly becoming uncommon” phenomenon is precisely why the Department of Health and every right-thinking Filipino, are getting concerned -- because it is accompanied by unnecessary infant and children deaths and morbidity."

The Party-list system's absurdity

Atty. Oscar Tan discusses the impossibility of fulfilling the Constitutional mandate that 20 percent of the members of the House of Representatives should come from party-list representatives and gives an alternative formula from the one used today.
"A proper party-list formula need only fulfill two simple goals: 1) It must fill up 20 percent of House seats; and 2) Seat allocation must be proportional, including allocations to losing parties.

In this proposed formula, one selects a party, then divides each party’s votes by the chosen party’s votes. One then drops decimals from the resulting ratios, and assigns that many seats to each party, up to the three-seat maximum. If the total number of seats assigned exceeds 55, one chooses another party with less votes, and vice-versa."
I really can't understand how the COMELEC and the Supreme could have bungled this one. Personally, I think the mistaken notion that the party list should be limited to "under-represented" sectors of society is the root of all this stupidity. This notion led to:
  1. limiting the number of seats a party-list party can get to 3 - this now limits the growth of a party-list party and will ensure that they cannot become a dominant party
  2. banning "mainstream" parties from the party-list elections - which leads to a the absurd situation that "legitimate" party-list organizations are accusing the dominant parties of using proxy party-list organizations to be able to run, and at this moment, the ascendancy of parties affiliated with religious organizations.
The party-list could have led to various parties, with strong party loyalty. The mis-steps only led to our present situation.

How not to be GP

Discuss gays and link to Micketymoc

Online Dating

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:
* gay (6x)
* poop (1x)

Mingle2 - Online Dating

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Namatay sa Tule

Isang sanggol sa Canada ang namatay pagkatapos matuli. Naway magsilbing paalala sa ating lahat na maski na minor surgery ang pagtuli, mayroon pa ring panganib (risk) dito. May diskusyon tungkol sa istoryang ito dito

via Pharyngula

Nagulat!

Ayon sa mga mananaliksik sa Connecticut College, mabagal maka-recover ang mga bacteria kapag nahulugan sila ng pagkain, pinakamabilis na ang 30 saglit (seconds) bago mahimasmasan ang isang bacteria at kumapit sa nahulog na pagkain.

read more | digg story

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Marriage

Recently, a friend of mine blogged about gay marriage. He said that, though he supports gay marriage, it is premature for the Gay, Bi-sexual, Lesbian and Trans-gender (GBLT) movement in the Philippines to push for it. He asserts that discrimination in work, education and just plain physical abuse have to be prioritized. I disagreed, but I can only defer to his and the GBLT movement's judgment since they are the ones in the front line of this struggle.

I remembered our exchange after I read Mildred Loving's statement. Mildred Loving's marriage to her husband, Perry Loving was the landmark case where the US Supreme Court decided that anti-miscegenation laws (laws that forbid marriage between different races) in the US were unconstitutional (more from wikipedia).

Marriage is a personal decision, Mildred and Perry Loving's decision was a personal decision and it changed US policy. There may not be a consensus in the GBLT movement on the necessity of marriage so that gay marriage may have to be pushed by members of the community who want to get married.

P.S.

IANAL but the Philippine Constitution does not specifically prohibit gay marriage, Article 15 in the family states:
Section 1. The State recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation. Accordingly, it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total development.

Section 2. Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State.

Section 3. The State shall defend:

(1) The right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood;

(2) The right of children to assistance, including proper care and nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to their development;

(3) The right of the family to a family living wage and income; and

(4) The right of families or family associations to participate in the planning and implementation of policies and programs that affect them.

Section 4. The family has the duty to care for its elderly members but the State may also do so through just programs of social security.
I don't know a lot about Philippine laws, but it seems to me that at least within the bounds of the constitution, gay marriage is already legal in the Philippines.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Lakbayan Grade

via MLQ3


My Lakbayan grade is C! Mostly Because of Work

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out at Lakbayan!


Created by Eugene Villar.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

This is a Joke :)

Telecom History

After digging to a depth of 100 meters last year,
Japanese scientists found traces of copper wire dating
back 1000 years, and came to the conclusion that their
ancestors already had a telephone network one thousand
years ago.

In the weeks that followed, American scientists dug
200 metres and headlines in the US papers read:

"US scientists have found traces of 2000 year old
optical fibres, and have concluded that their
ancestors already had advanced high-tech digital
telephone 1000 years earlier than the Japanese".

One week later, a Filipino newspaper reported the
following:

"After digging as deep as 500 metres, Filipino
scientists have found absolutely nothing. They have
concluded that 5000 years ago, their ancestors were
already using wireless technology".

Iba ang PINOY!!!!!

Di na ko Papayag (Never Again)

I know this is more appropriate for the EDSA anniversary rather than today, but I think this is still appropriate specially right after an election.



a better (larger) version can be downloaded from Jim Paredes' multiply site here. An mp3 of the song can also be downloaded there.

p.s.

You have to be a member of multiply to access Jim Paredes' page.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Black Superman

Speaking of Philippine Basketball, I was reminded of Bill Simmon's tribute to David Halberstam where I learned that one of my favorite authors actually wrote about Billy Ray Bates in his book "Breaks of the Game". I haven't read the book but it seems that David Halberstam was not impressed with Billy Ray Bates.
"The underdog grew up on a cotton farm. He could barely read. He could barely stay in school. A freelancing guard with powerful legs, there were dozens of prospects just like him, players with more than enough talent who fell through the cracks for whatever reason. When he landed on the team that wasn't so perfect anymore, he saved a wasted season playing the exact one-on-one style that the coach despised. By the time the playoffs rolled around, fans knew his name and announcers breathlessly pumped him up in pregame shows. During the final few minutes of the Seattle series, teammates cleared out for him and stood around as the underdog tried to beat three guys off the dribble at once. Sometimes, he even did. The perfect team had become something else, just another screwed-up team in a screwed-up league."
At that time, NBA games were not shown in the Philippines so the first time I heard of Billy Ray Bates was when he became an import for my favorite PBA team, the Crispa Redmanizers. It was 1983 and he became instrumental in making Crispa win the 3 PBA tournaments held that year, which in the Philippines is referred to as a grand slam. It was the second time Crispa won the grand slam. Billy Ray Bates was a joy to watch, he seemingly could make shots from anywhere, he does not really play defense but when he had to, he delivered. I remember watching him play against Norman Black, the quintessential Philippine import who have led and will lead his teams to championships. Billy Ray Bates described his experience then.
""Those people, they loved me," he later told The Oregonian. "There, I was like Michael Jordan. I could have anything I wanted. All I had to do was snap my fingers. I had my own condo, my own car and my own bodyguard with an Uzi. Had to fight off the women.""
Billy Ray Bates' later life was less than stellar, but I will always remember him as the Black Superman of Philippine Basketball. I am confident that my contemporaries will too.

Highlights from Youtube

How to make it as a hoops star in the Philippines

Here is one foreigner's view of basketball in the Philippines. From Slate.
Basketball is a tall man's game. But in the Philippines, where men are short and hoops is an obsession, something's got to give. Several native "big men" are barely taller than 6 feet 3 inches, the standard height for NBA guards. Dunks are so rare in the PBA that the league has toyed with the idea of making slams worth three points. The league adds a dash of high-wire athleticism by allowing each team to hire one foreign-born star. But permitting American 7-footers to play would wreak havoc among the Lilliputian locals. As a result, the PBA bans imports taller than 6 feet 6 inches.

The rule works. The PBA's foreigners are a versatile bunch: pure shooters, workhorses who do a little of everything, burly inside operators. But while the imports typically dominate games, they still leave room for the best Filipino players—guards who whirl through defenses and score on twisting layups—to do what they do best.

The height limit may be good for the PBA, but it forces tall players into a Catch-22. After a lifetime spent exaggerating their height to look more appealing to scouts, players must try to become shorter to play in the Philippines. The teams, too, have an incentive to sneak in over-height imports—every inch gives you a competitive advantage. As a result, foreigners in the PBA, and the franchises who bring them over, have come up with several shrinking techniques. Some of the methods are tricky, some are pseudoscientific, and others are just plain batty.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

EDSA: A Blow by Blow Account

"StuartXchange presents Angela Stuart-Santiago's works on the 1986 EDSA revolution, in their entirety. The two published works - an English version (EDSA: The Original People Power Revolution) and a Tagalog version (Walang Himala! Himagsikan sa Edsa) - in a blow-by-blow style of story telling - will bring the People Power Revolution back into the forefront of your consciousness. A must-read for every freedom-loving Filipino, for students of history, for those whose memories have been blurred by time, for the younger generations for whom EDSA is piecemeal snippets of hearsay, and for those who just wish to read and reminisce of a time when a people showed the possibilities of its heart and soul."
Baka may gustong bumasa.

Skarlet's New CD


I know it's hard to believe that Skarlet knows me, but my high school batch produced a lot of musicians and artists. Perry from Barfly is another example. If you have extra cash, you might just want to check out Skarlet's new album.

MLQ3 on the Wisdom of Crowds

From Manuel L. Quezon III: The Daily Dose - The wisdom of crowds:

"This is what I mean by the wisdom of crowds. Those of us who took partisan positions have a role to play, but in the end -and it’s at times breathtakingly beautiful to me, to pause, take stock, and realize this- the devotion of our country as a whole, is doggedly, unbudgingly, sensibly, for the democratic path. Partisan lines came closest to blurring in December, 2006, when it seemed elections themselves might be postponed if not canceled; and we’ve seen the May elections finally settle what the public opinion polls could only hint at: where does the country, as a whole, stand? On the whole, not even for or against the President, but firmly on the side of checks-and-balance. And we can even expect a certain kind of renewed stability, if only the powers-that-be could read this message. Sad to say, I think what we have ahead of us will be government-provoked destabilization, as today’s Inquirer editorial spells out."
I agree, except for the last sentence. I am hopeful that GMA will wish to polish her legacy and try to be more of a statesman and exit the political stage gracefully.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

May the Source be with You


May the Source be with You
Originally uploaded by GNU/DrinuS !

This is my new wallpaper on my phone. I use Kubuntu as my primary home OS for several months now and have not encountered any major problems. I just love this this picture, it combines two of my favorite things, Linux and Star Wars.

p.s.

My wife pointed out that the above is not only my wallpaper but my theme. She should know, she created it. If you want to try the theme out, you can download it here (Right click and save link as. The theme is for Sony Ericsson W810i.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Dilemma of Choice

Pharyngula directed me to this article in the Daily Kos where a doctor writes why he does abortions. Abortion is not legal in the Philippines, contraceptives are barely tolerated by the Catholic church and their viewpoint dominates Philippine society. I hope somebody who reads this article will be brave enough to reconsider his/her personal opinion on this issue.

I was raised by my mother and my grandmother. I had no difficulty accepting that women are the equal of men. I witnessed the strength of my mother and grandmother everyday. But I always had an aversion to the pro-choice position. I always thought of the waste of potential of an aborted human being.

I accepted the pro-choice position when a friend, the martian, explained that pro-choice is about women, it is their body, it should be their choice. But I embraced the pro-choice position after I read Mandatory Motherhood: The True Meaning of Right to Life.

Dr. Harrison's article is a powerful piece that explains not only the difficulties poor women experience when they have no choice but to bear and raise unplanned children but also the moral dilemma every person goes through in deciding for or against an abortion.
"No one, neither the patient receiving an abortion, nor the person doing the abortion, is ever, at anytime, unaware that they are ending a life. We just don't believe that a developing embryo or fetus, whose mother cannot or will not accept it, has the same moral claims on us, claims to autonomy and justice, that an adolescent or adult woman has. I have never seen an abortion decision entered into lightly by anyone involved. The decision to have an abortion is most often made in the time of the first great personal moral crisis that ever faces a girl, a woman, her family and the people who love them. It is only those who stand outside and condemn the women and families who are faced with these dilemmas who take lightly the decisions made in these straits and trivialize the circumstances in which they are made.

Moral dilemmas are always about difficult problems. Decisions between right and wrong are not moral dilemmas; decisions between right and wrong should be no-brainers and should never be difficult.

It is in deciding between what we consider morally near-equal alternatives that we are forced to make agonizing appraisals. The decision between competing evils or competing goods - these are the judgments that may burn in your mind and live forever in your memory, that fry your soul. And it matters not whether one believes elective abortion a good or an evil, for every abortion decision is made between self-perceived competing goods or competing evils, not between obvious good and self-evident evil. "

Friday, June 01, 2007

Additions to my Reading List


The problem is I'm in the middle of finishing the Aubrey-Maturin series, all 20 of them so these books are way back in the list.