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Showing posts from October, 2006

All work no play makes 'em dullards

CHILDREN need a lot of time, even coaxed to stomp, romp, frolic. Enjoy, gambol, spill out those brimming wellsprings of adrenaline in themselves— let ‘em play to their heart’s content.

If not, as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reported recently, they may not become fully adjusted physically, socially, and emotionally.

The report noted that in today’s world of overstressed parents and overworked children, too meager time was left for old-fashioned unstructured play.

In 1907, prolific plant breeder and genius Luther Burbank plied out the same counsel: “Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, water-bugs, tadpoles, frogs, mud-turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, chestnuts, trees to climb, brooks to wade in, water-lilies, woodchucks, bats, bees, butterflies, various animals to pet, hay-fields, pine-cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets; and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of his education.

“By be…

Con us? No way!

HIGH-TENSION wires allow smooth flow of high-voltage electricity. Wires of low tensile strength cannot. Let surge high-voltage current in low-tension wire—that would trigger a power trip. The insulator sizzles, the wire melts, there’s power outage. The sparks fly starting a blaze that may raze an entire squatters’ colony—faulty house wiring is the usual culprit in fires of that sort.

High-tension wire for high-voltage current. Low-tension wire for low-voltage juice. A lesson in appropriate wiring can wisen us.

Maybe we can better appreciate such precious lessons in wiring. Haul ‘em Charter change proponents, trussing all like turkeys and hanging ‘em up there in power transmission lines as baseload power is beefed up by a few thousand more kilowatts. See those stack of steaks sizzle but we’d like ‘em well done.

That’ll be a sight too enlightening to behold—but don’t hold ‘em, huh?

Liken the 1987 Charter to the wiring schemata of a house in which we dwell. It took a gathering topnotch brai…

Haunting suds thought

LEFT-OVER foam roughly spelled out the name “ELY” after erstwhile PJI chair Bobby T. Capco took a long swig off his bottle, then pointed to the quaint suds spell. Haunting suds thought, that’s what we suspected it was and if Bobby had his drink in a can, we’d appropriately call it taunting can thought.

The late Eleazar Lopez, our regular beer buddy qua patron and advisor probably wanted to join us for a drink, so I poured out a frothy libation around our favorite drinking table at Estaya’s, the group’s usual hang-out. Small place, an eatery that takes pride in old-fashioned home cooking that draws a motley crowd from nearby government and customs brokerage offices at lunchtime. Off-hours, Estaya’s turns into a beer joint where we regularly repair to awaiting late-breakers that may call for a rematting of our paper’s city edition. A newsman’s routine can be like that of a lurking assassin out to waylay every lay along the way—yeah, good things come to those who wait in ambush.

When our b…

Family life

TO the chagrin and shock of political supporters, extant Virginia governer Mark R. Warner announced that he won’t be in the running for the U.S. presidency in 2008. A run for the White House would be too much interference for his family life, he reasoned.

After a weekend with his wife, three daughters and an octogenarian father, it must have dawned on him that he isn’t yet ripe or crusty enough for the goriest of bloodsports—a try at the presidential throne.

People who believe in Warner’s competence and political savvy are aghast, saying that they have deeply and emotionally invested in him.

Too, they cite that except for Warner, “there’s nobody in the United States better positioned to be president”—and that includes extant First Lady and Sen. Hillary R. Clinton.

It appears that this family man has weighed his choices and chances before that decision to pull out of contention: “"I bring a real desire to learn. I think I bring a tremendous curiosity. I think I bring a willingness to …

1950s relic

FABULOUS ‘50s, what a grand time it was. ‘Twas nitty-gritty rebuilding time for the nation from the rubble and ruins left in the wake of World War II. Remember? Two pesos equals a dollar. Minimum pay was P8 a day and that amount can sustain a family of six.

Then, a decent-sized oil painting by a Vicente Manansala, a Hernando R. Ocampo, a Cesar Legaspi, even that movie set designer qua gadabout poet of the brush Carlos “Botong” Francisco fetched for P5—what lush opulence such works in oil and canvas would lend to a drab wall!

A pesky urban legend of sorts from the ‘50s refused to fade away in certain local art circles. It’s about Botong Francisco. In a fit of generosity and just maybe all he had on his person was a rolled-up mural-size canvas on which the typical Botong pastorale had been painted, he gave that away in exchange for a meal. Even then, that artwork was worth more than a few lavish dinners— thrown in with a few magnums of Armagnac, hand-rolled and brandy-dipped Havanas, and…

So what else is nukes?

NORTH Korea finally capped its taunts at the US a clutch of years back with a test nuclear blast. That ought to have been done in this neck of the woods during the small hours of New Year’s Day for Filipinoise who opt to start any year with lots of noise and air pollution.

North Korea’s Kim Jong Il can taunt some more, flaunt his nation’s nuclear arsenal—which isn’t that formidable—and hurl jeers at George W. Bush, tempt him into an invasion, a surgical strike, outright abduction or any similar act of aggression.

Noblesse oblige but Bush won’t oblige him.

Unlike Iraq’s largely untapped reserves of oil, there isn’t a drop of sweet crude that can be dug in North Korean soil, that’s why. Besides, Bush loathes broccoli and it is likely he won’t ever try to stuff himself with kimchi.

North Korea can crow about its nuclear weaponry but the country still stays dirt-poor, nearly dependent on South Korea’s generosity to keep their population off the breadline. Unlike a devastated Iraq which can ge…

Cola-nial mentality bashed

FILIPINO painter Antipas “Biboy” Delotavo’s Itak sa Dibdib ni Mang Juan (Bolo on Old Man Juan’s Chest) depicts a glum, wiry old man bowed before a portion of a billboard for a popular softdrink. The brand name has a stretched out capital C about to be stuck like a blood-soaked kukri knife into the man’s chest. That’s brutal vignette. Seething yet subtle visual commentary, too.

Indian photographer Sharad Haksar blew up his snapshot of colorful pitchers lined up in front of a hand pump before a wall painted with an advertising pitch for a soft-drink, “Drink …… The blown up picture was mounted as a billboard in Chennai city in southern India wracked with drought in summer months.

Apparently, it takes seven liters of water to crank out a one liter bottle of the popular softdrink. Which can be outright mass murder of people in drought-prone areas.

On top of that ironic dig at the softdrink multinational, local papers played up news about Indian farmers routinely spraying their fields with the…