Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Coffee Break: Audrey

One of the most beautiful women of all time...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mental Notes: 30 Dumb Inventions

From Life Magazine

Coffee Break: Sin Noticias de Dios

My favorite scene in 'Sin Noticias de Dios', Penelope Cruz 'Kung Fu Fighting'

Coffee Break: Rules for writers

(In honor or New York Times columnist William Safire who just died of pancreatic cancer.)
  • Remember to never split an infinitive.
  • The passive voice should never be used.
  • Do not put statements in the negative form.
  • Verbs have to agree with their subjects.
  • Proofread carefully to see if you words out.
  • If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be by rereading and editing.
  • A writer must not shift your point of view.
  • And don't start a sentence with a conjunction. (Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.)
  • Don't overuse exclamation marks!!
  • Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
  • Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
  • If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
  • Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
  • Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
  • Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
  • Always pick on the correct idiom.
  • The adverb always follows the verb.
  • Avoid cliches like the plague; seek viable alternatives.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mental Notes: 7 thoughts that are bad for you

This isn't good.

An article on LiveScience says there are 7 thoughts that are tied to physical health, and in turn make a person deteriorate more quickly than others. Except maybe for the 4th 'thought' on the list, it looks like I may be going downhill.

Here's a quick run-down of the list:

7. Cynicism - Cynics who tend to be suspicious and mistrustful of others, a character trait that scientists refer to as hostility, may have an increased likelihood of developing heart disease.

6. Lack of meaning - If you lack a sense of purpose, your stay on Earth could be truncated.

5. Fretting - People who are highly neurotic -- constantly worried and anxious, and prone to depression -- die sooner on average than their chill counterparts.

4. Lack of self-control - A review of more than 20 studies and nearly 9,000 participants revealed people who are conscientious -- organized and self-disciplined, as opposed to impulsive -- live two to four years longer than others.

3. Anxiety - Compared with the highly frazzled, individuals with a mellow demeanor who are outgoing may be less likely to develop dementia, which can be caused by Alzheimer's disease and other illnesses.

2. Gloom and doom - A preliminary study of more than 180 patients suffering from peripheral arterial disease (plaque buildup in the arteries) showed participants with so-called type D, or distressed, personality, had an increased odds of dying sooner than other people.

1. Stress - Research is showing that prolonged stress can be deadly, and if it doesn't do you in, workplace stress can increase your chances of heart disease, flu virus, metabolic syndrome and having high blood pressure.

From those with a chill demeanor to the completely frazzled types, mental factors, are ultimately tied to physical health. And while a highly neurotic person might deteriorate more quickly than others, not every character trait will kill you.
Read more here.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Coffee Break: You don't own me

One of my favorite scenes from 'First Wives Club'...
Being single isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Coffee Break Poem: Whispering Pines

If you find me in a gloom, or catch me in a dream
inside my lonely room, there is no in between

Whispering pines, rising of the tide
if only one star shines
that's just enough to get inside

I will wait until it all goes 'round
with you in sight, the lost are found

Foghorn through the night, calling out to sea
protect my only light, 'cause she once belonged to me

Let the waves rush in, let the seagulls cry
for if I live again, these hopes will never die

I can feel you standing there
but I don’t see you anywhere

Standing by the well, wishing for the rains
reaching to the clouds, for nothing else remains

Drifting in a daze, when evening will be done
try looking through a haze
at an empty house, in the cold, cold sun

I will wait until it all goes round
with you in sight, the lost are found

by Robbie Robertson & Richard Manuel

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Coffee Break: The Beatles

So The Beatles have been turned into a game today (090909), and Mental Floss comes out with a list in their honor.

9 Things you probably didn't know about The Beatles

And in case you ever wondered about what "goo goo goo joob" in "I am the Walrus" means, here's your answer in so many words.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Writer's Block: Talking Trash

Yesterday, I came across a photo of a mountain of trash waiting to be collected at Igorot Park, right smack in downtown Baguio City.

Baguio just celebrated it's centennial, leaving an aftermath of trash heaps here and there. But this is not an isolated case, and after a hundred years -- you'd like to think the local government would be mature enough to take care of this mess.

So now allow me to talk trash, literally. I love my Baguio, and I am saddened to see what it is becoming. Not so long ago, this haven that was beaming with pride as the "Cleanest and Greenest' highly urbanized city, is now among the filthiest -- all thanks to a good heaping of corruption.

What is sadder is the fact that we saw this coming.

The trash issue was already flagged many years ago at the city council meeting. Irisan was reaching its capacity, and there were no alternative dumpsites.

The city was then implementing waste segregation and had plans of setting up a recycling center, at least that was according to then Mayor Domogan (now Congressman). But the city had no funds to set up, much more, purchase an incinerator that can convert trash into energy.

City officials flew to Japan to study their garbage disposal system, but sadly to no avail. So the city mulled plans to privatize garbage collection -- something opposed by garbage collectors who would likely be out of the job if it pulls through.

The proposal for privatization and alternative dumpsites was referred to a committee, and was forgotten -- along with all the other things that are referred to a committee.

That's how the city gets out of sticky situations. They debate about it and refer an issue to a committee for further study or investigation, and you can kiss that sticky topic goodbye.

Problem is, the things you try to stuff into a dark attic do not necessarily go away.

I've been living away from Baguio for five years now, and am saddened by what has become of my home.

During my last trip there nearly two years ago, I was dumbfounded to find the city's main thoroughfare overflowing with trash. Only a few years ago, there were trash bins on every corner.

We had no funds, but plenty to build an ugly billion-peso cement pine tree atop Session Road. (No it is not beautiful; yes -- only God can make a tree; and no , I will not heed to the message 'Plant Me -V- and Protect Me" because I prefer to plant real trees)

We have no funds, but had the 88-million peso surplus from the Marcos Highway Rehabilitation Fund to create a flyover to nowhere in the middle of a non-congested watershed area that generates 35 gallons of water per minute.

Yes, I forget -- it would have been a case of mis-allocated funds -- corruption. JICA would never have stood for it.

Nearly 10 years later, city officials are still looking into this, and have not come close to a solution. And yet, they were so quick to act on approving Jadewell's contract to make money out of the city's roads.

Yes, thankfully Jadewell is long gone, but the trash problem has been around long before parking was even an issue. Residents are angry and frustrated. They have every right to be.

The elections are coming once again, and if only to save their hides -- city officials need to stop bickering and finally come up with a real, long-term solution before Baguio literally ends up in the dumps.

Baguio is a beautiful place -- and from my travels, I know it is unique. I love it, so I cannot detach myself from what I know is going on in my home -- no matter how far removed I am from it. I want to see my Baguio beautiful again, although the past cannot be undone, I want my home to be clean and still smell of pine after it rains.

It's been nearly 10 years. At least do something. -wmf

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Coffee Break: Censorship

This is why you should worry when there is no freedom of the press in a country:

A young man writes a love letter to his fiancé, and adds a line or two about the government of his country. He posts the letter, but soon after dispatching he realises that if it is opened in the censor office, he is going to suffer because of the casual negative remark he made. In order to avoid such consequences, he decides to apply for a job in the censor department, so he can try to get hold of his letter. To his surprise, he does indeed get a position, and thus starts learning his new tasks. Several months later, during the course of normal post-checking, he finally comes across his letter. He opens it and reads the content. But instead of hiding it or throwing it away, he writes a note that the sender of the letter has committed a crime against the state and must be punished.

This short story by Luisa Valenzuela, the Argentine author, illustrates how the system of censorship seeps into the very souls of those it affects. The ultimate grip and success of censorship occurs when it becomes part of one’s internal system; and, like termites, it corrodes the insides, till one day it destroys the body it has occupied. Subsequently, censorship becomes the normal, natural state, such that one is no longer aware of its presence, as one’s thoughts, words, art and acts are perpetually filtered through a new sense of carefulness.

More here.