Monday, June 30, 2008

Another Prediction

Barack Obama will beat John McCain by at least 100 electoral votes this November.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Funniest Video Ever

What are they saying, Benny Lava?

I hear Sylvester Stallone is going to be starring in a new Bollywood Movie. His nuanced phonemics should fit in fine with these folks.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

It Must Be National Hypocrisy Week Or Something

Have you noticed how the right wing talking heads on TV and elsewhere have stopped hounding Obama about the fact that he didn't wear an American flag pin on his lapel? Well, they didn't stop bothering him about it because he finally gave in and started wearing one. Nope. Right wing swift boat smear artists wouldn't surrender a bonafide opportunity to paint Obama as a flag-hating anti-American simply on the basis that he capitulated to their demands.

Nope. Instead, they realized that they had better shut up before people start to point out the fact that John McCain never wears an American flag pin on his lapel also.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Self Parody At Its Finest

It is common knowledge that over the past few years, Republicans and other Family-First Fellows have been caught in some rather... uh... queer situations. (See here for at least a half dozen examples.)

Today, Republican Senators reintroduced The Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) in the U.S. Senate, which is the ongoing effort to add to the United States Constitution the phrase "No gay marriage allowed." Who were these Republican Senators wishing to save us from the pestiferous threat of queer nuptials? Larry Craig and David Vitter.

That would be Senator Larry mens-room-toe-tapping-for-gay-sex Craig of Idaho, and Senator David diaper-wearing-prostitute-loving Vitter of Louisiana.

I really should give the Republicans the benefit of the doubt and consider the possibility that they let these two fellows sponsor the FMA as a lark: It's really rather condescending to think that the Republicans would let one guy who trolls for gay sex in airport mens rooms and a second guy who likes prostitutes to "baby" him be the sponsors of an ostensibly "Straight Marriage Only Save The Family" constitutional amendment without recognizing the irony, hypocrisy and audacity inherent in such a decision, and I apologize for thinking the Republican Senate leadership are that dumb.

So, in the spirit of it all: Good joke fellas. Heh. Quite funny.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

How Dumb Do They Think We Are?

The McCain campaign today sent Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas out to talk to the press about how Senator Barack Obama is nonpartisan, and never works with Republicans in the Senate.

You would think that out of all the people McCain could have sent out to say something like that, he would have picked a person other than the one Republican Senator with whom Barack Obama has worked more than any other:

(1) On a bill to increase economic pressure on Iran.
(2) As a cosponsor of Brownback's Darfur peace plan.
(3) To establish U.S. policy towards The Congo.
(4) And others.

John McCain admits to not knowing how to use a computer or the internet. That's apparently quite true: Otherwise he would have Googled Senator Obama's record before sending the two-faced Senator from Kansas out in front of the press to knowingly spout falsehoods.

Seriously: If somebody at work has helped you out repeatedly at your job, and then you volunteer to go out and say that that same person never helps out at work, how big a dick does that make you?
By the way... I'll just add that Senator Brownback also spouted the nonsense that Senator Obama is America's most liberal senator. The only source for this claim comes from the infamous National Journal's 2007 Vote Ratings. Who did they list as America's most liberal senator in 2003? John Kerry.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My Favoritest Motor Scooter Evah

Question: What happens when you cross a 1964 Continental with a motorcycle? Answer: You get the 10-foot-long Yamaha Maxam 3000 Scooter. Unfortunately the "3000" is just a concept, but the ever-trippy Yamaha Maxam (a.k.a. Morphous) is out and about.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Fallacy Of Offshore Drilling

It would be 10 years before we would see a drop of oil from offshore drilling, and it would lower the cost of gas only 8 cents per gallon, according to these calculations.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Another Prediction

Republican presidential nominee, Senator John McCain will pick Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas to be his Vice President.

Do You Qualify To Be An American?

Take the test.

First there are 20 basic questions about America found on a standard test for becoming an American citizen, and then 10 slightly more difficult questions. The test claims that 25 is "passing". I got the first 20 right, but missed 4 of the 10 harder ones... just passing at 26.

Of course, some people would argue that knowing who won this year's Winston Cup, regular church attendance, and having a really good chili recipe are all that is necessary to qualify to be an American. Sadly, I wouldn't argue with them.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Best Election Site On The Internet

Even for those of you who are only taking a passing interest in the presidential election in America this year, the cannot-miss web site is, founded by The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. does exactly what its name states: It fact-checks what the candidates are saying and claiming and promising. Whenever a candidate, Republican or Democrat alike, puts information out there that is not 100% accurate, is there to explain what is false or misleading, how it is false and misleading, and what the truth actually is.

If you are a person who is going to be casting a ballot in this upcoming election, you really would be depriving yourself of your most powerful knowledge tool by not visiting for the truth about what the candidates are saying this year.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Daily Report: Margarita Madness

Ednil, Susan, and Epril all went out for the day.

I had an off day of work. I got in a rather half-hearted morning of work, then had some instant noodles Alfredo for lunch while I watched an episode of the BBC's Planet Earth on Blue Ray. In the afternoon, I got very little done... but at the end of the day managed to come in only moderately below average.

This evening, Epril and I went across town to Ron's and Eve's house for his weekly "margarita madness" get-together. We were joined by Tom Fagan and his girlfriend Marlyn, Jackie from China and his girlfriend Paz, and Bob (who was in charge of making the margaritas) and his wife as well. There was lots to eat, and of course lots to drink.

Deadly Typhoon Tears Right By My House

And when I say "tears right by my house", I mean missed me completely, skipped over me entirely. But everywhere else in The Philippines, a monster storm is tearing shit up. The storm started in the ocean directly east of Mindanao, and traveled to the northwest and passed right over the northeastern tip of Mindanao island, merely 100 miles away from Cagayan De Oro, and then veered north and worked its way up the entire Philippine archipelago.

But there was even heavy rainfall on Mindanao that we never saw here in Cagayan either. Southwest of us, Cotobato City is getting flooded out, several people died, and hundreds are being evacuated from landslide-prone areas.

Here? We have had an overcast day with some early morning drizzle. That's it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Look At What I Found Mom

Bet you thought you'd never have to listen to this again:

Yes... for the rest of you: When I was young, I used to be quite the pianist. I learned this piece when I was 15 or so. (Practiced it constantly, every day, for a year.) Alas, it's hard to keep up one's piano skills when there is no piano close at hand. I doubt I remember a single key of anything I used to play... although I'm sure with a year's work, I could get a lot of it back.

In case you're wondering why I never became a professional pianist, it was because I learned music too slowly, had a very small repertoire, my sight reading was terrible, I had no improvisational or musical formulation skills, and my musical interests were too narrow (only fast and loud, thank you). However, certain pieces like this one I played as well as anybody.

(Thanks to C&L for putting this video up.)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Campaign Finance And Hypocrisy All Around

Here are the rules: If you are running a presidential campaign, you can either opt to get some of the money for your campaign from the government, which will subject you to certain rules, and restrict how much money you can raise and spend; or you can opt to get no money from the government, which will allow you to avoid those rules, and raise and spend much more money. Either choice is fair and allowed.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has reneged on a pledge he had made to take the government campaign funds if the Republican presidential candidate John McCain did. Obama determined that he could raise and spend vastly more money if he opted not take the government money, and thus broke the promise.

That's not too cool to break your word like that... but John McCain has hardly been playing the straight line with the campaign finance laws himself:

During the primary John McCain's campaign was very low on money, so what John McCain did was to announce, "I'm taking the government money." Then before receiving that money, he ran to a bank and said, "See, I've got this government money as collateral, so give me a loan." Then he got the loan, and ran back to the government and said, "I don't need the government money after all, thanks." Sneaky, eh?

So both candidates have been a bit "political" and "dishonest" in their approach to campaign finance. However, I'll judge Obama, who broke a campaign pledge for pragmatic financial reasons less harshly than I'll just McCain, who played fast and loose with the rules (and possibly the law; the jury is still out) in order to trick financial institutions for financial gain.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Daily Report: Desire

My work has been getting better and better. I've got some expenses coming up so now is as good a time as any to get on the ball.

Maid Susan has herself a suitor: A nice Filipino police officer who lives nearby who comes over to visit with her. She did have an "internet boyfriend" for a while from Missouri, and the man had arranged to meet her in Davao, where he apparently has a son, but Susan was stood up and never heard from him again.

We watched "A Streetcar Named Desire" on DVD tonight. The video store at SM has a fine collection of old movies for sale, and I thought that I should try to get the girls to watch some "cinema". Epril lasted for about 45 minutes. Heh: Anything that isn't a cartoon, she'll eventually tire of. Actually surprising she lasted as long as she did. Ednil wandered off after about an hour. I suppose the black and white filming hurt her eyes. Susan managed to stay for the whole movie though.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Daily Report: Wedding In Kimaya

Today, Epril and I were invited to the wedding of one of her cousins, Kako and his new wife Aming, in Jasaan, with the reception held at the nearby Basamanggas Resort.

It was a standard Catholic wedding, but there were quite a few aspects that seem to be indigenous to the Philippines that you don't see in normal weddings. For example, the bride and groom have "primary sponsors", who are sort of like Godparents (but in the Philippines, it can be dozens of people) and "secondary sponsors", who are people who help perform the wedding ritual.

The happy couple, Kako and Aming.

The wedding reception at Basamanggas
Resort was a simple and brief affair.
Also, I think this might be common in Catholic Rituals in some countries, but a viel is placed over the bride and groom, and then a cord is wrapped around their shoulders in a figure-eight. (An in-depth description of all of the facets of a Filipino Catholic wedding can be found here.)

The reception was held at Basamanggas Resort, which is close to Epril's family's house. It was a surprisingly subdued affair that was over in less than an hour, with no dancing (other than the bride and groom, and guests with either the bride or groom), no drinking, and a buffet-style dinner. I think this has more to do with the impecunious nature of the families involved in the wedding more than any lack of celebratory tradition when it comes to the reception. When it's my turn to have a Filipino wedding, the reception will certainly be something a little more grandiose.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Just A Quick Prediction

Barack Obama will pick John Edwards as his Vice President... assuming Al Gore says no.

As usual, I'm ahead of the other great minds... this time by 12 hours.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Daily Report: Murphy's Weekend

I suppose if life needs to suck for a certain period of time, one might as well cram it all into a weekend and get it over and done with.

On Saturday, my cable internet was down for the entire day. (It was only mid-morning when I noticed that the cable company had sent out a text message by mobile phone to all of their customers the night previous, alerting them to the outage.)

With an obligatory day off work, Epril and I decided to go out to the village to visit with the family and have a swim. Unfortunately the battery on my motorcycle was dead, limiting the range of our wanders to whatever cab fare we were willing to part with.

On Sunday morning the electricity was shut off (with a fair-enough 3-day advance warning posted at the front gate of our housing development) for 2 hours, from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m. I managed to get in 3 hours of work or so before the cable internet went back out again, and stayed out for the day. At 6:00 p.m., the power went off for another pre-planned 2 hours. At 8:00, the power came back on... along with the internet.

Susan was going to take a trip this weekend to visit a gentleman suitor, but that fell through, which hurt her feelings. One of Epril's cousins passed away up in Leyte as well... something to do with eating a seed.

So, anyway, here's hoping that this coming week will be an improvement over the ramshackle that was this weekend.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Daily Report: Slow Week

The Sony Playstation 3 in full HDTV. The
photo is in full resolution if you click
on it to see the quality of the HD image.
I received my Playstation 3 — dropped off by my landlord, arrived from America — on Monday. I was literally tearing up as I watched the startup movie for Gran Turismo in full 1080-line resolution on the 60 inch Sony television... the picture is that beautiful.

The BluRay movies are really nice too... although the aspect ratio of the movie version still leaves the 2 black bars above and below the movie, even on the wide screen television, effectively wasting 25% of the 1080 lines of resolution. Therefore, the film image is only 800 horizontal lines... only 25% more than full-screen broadcast television. (People with LCDs that only produce 768 lines of resolution thus won't see any improvement whatsoever.)

Work has improved over the last week. With the new accounts and the new house and the new family, everything was topsy-turvy for a while, and my work really suffered for it. However, over the past week I've been turning things around. As always, it is a factor of how much I can get done before lunch: I'm still not worth a damn in the afternoon... but that's the way it has always been.

Local kids roister about in the creek
by Epril's family's house.
Last weekend, it was out to Kimaya to celebrate Epril's cousin's 18th birthday. We went swimming at Basamanggas Resort and had roast pig. I really need to buy a different motorcycle next year. The Motorstar "superscoot" (i.e. any "clutchless" 2-wheeled vehicle with larger than a 125 cc engine) that I have is fine for around town, and it actually gets Ferrari-like attention from the locals, but it isn't comfortable to ride for anything more than 30 minutes. Also, the top speed is only about 50 miles per hour, which in theory is more than enough for the road to Kimaya, but I really would like a bit more zip for passing traffic. I won't talk about the brakes.

Anyway, we had a good time out in the village.

I would really like to build a house out there someday. I've looked at a couple of lots in the village. There is an entire promontory — downhill on 3 sides, 2 facing the ocean — right above the village, 3 acres in size, entirely flat, about 100 meters up and 150 meters back from the beach, that I'm in love with... but it's selling for $180,000. That price is only going to go up too, if the big ship building facility gets built 10 miles back down the road towards Cagayan De Oro. There is another pretty lot about 2 acres in size right across from Epril's parent's house that is nice too, planted with banana trees. That one isn't for sale, but I've heard $70,000 would probably do it anyway. It's not bad, but it doesn't have any view other than the village of Kimaya itself.

Obligatory Jungle Jil valley photo.
Anyway, this week has been entirely mundane but satisfying: Work, watch 2 BluRay movies per day plus perhaps play video games for an hour or two, and study politics on the internet. That's about it. Hopefully another trip out to the jungle this weekend to keep life tropical and exotic.