that's cool too

The New Zealand All blacks performed their Haka in the dressing room rather than on the field before their game with Wales recently.

The organizers had requested that the haka be performed not right before the game, but between the national anthems. Apparently so that the Welsh team singing their national anthem would be a reply to the haka.

"At the end of the day, haka is about spiritual preparation and we do it for ourselves. Traditionally fans can share the experience too and it's sad that they couldn't see it today.

That's pretty cool, standing to principle that way. I don't understand the issues well enough to know whether the All Blacks have a good point there, but they made an unpopular decision which was true to themselves, in a foreign country, where they didn't have much support. That was strong.

So the haka isn't just for entertainment value then. That's alright, it's cool anyway. And a great way to maintain the tradition is to have the Rugby team perform it, whether in or out of the public eye.

If it helps them win games (45-10 against the Welsh), that's a good thing too :-).

They Didn't attack Switzerland

Bill Walker has an article on the differences between Swiss and U.S. foreign policy and civilian population protection and the general assumption of civilian population maturity.

Switzerland has not been in a war of any kind since 1815. It has not been in an official foreign war since 1515. This would be astounding, even miraculous, for any nation. But Switzerland borders Germany . And France . And Italy . And Austria . And Liechtenstein . Now the Prince of Liechtenstein has rarely lashed out in Blitzkrieg in a desperate bid to reign uber alles, but ALL of Switzerland 's other neighbors have devoted a lot of effort to invading other countries.


The features of the Swiss system for keeping the peace are simple. They mind their own business, and they have very strict gun control. By which they mean that every Swiss male must have a gun, except for those who have to carry a mortar or missile launcher. Females are not subject to universal military training, but if you go to a Swiss rifle range, there are always girls blasting away too. After 9-11, the Swiss told passengers to carry their bayonets onto their airliners . . . somewhat different from the US response of panicked victim-disarmament. (You are aware that 99% of US pilots are STILL disarmed?)

On civil defence and defending against biological, chemical, nuclear attack (all of which the U.S. population is wide open to due to the inattention of politicians to the good of ALL the americans

Switzerland has also provided for defense of the lives of its civilian population against nuclear terrorism. Realizing after World War Two that nuclear weapons in the hands of power-mad idiots posed a public health threat, the Swiss started a nationwide shelter-building program in 1960. By 1991, there was enough shelter space in Switzerland to protect everyone in their home or apartment, and also enough at their workplace and school. A Swiss citizen is generally never more than a few minutes from a fallout shelter with an air filter.

The entire Swiss shelter program was accomplished for somewhere on the order of $35 (1990 dollars) per year per capita. The US spends vastly more every year to achieve a military only capable of intervening in Third World nations that don’t have WMDs.


Switzerland does not send troops to intervene in other nations. Switzerland does not spend tens of billions of dollars yearly to fund dictators around the world, nor did Switzerland donate hundreds of billions of dollars to the Warsaw Pact through bank "loans." Switzerland does not send billions of dollars worth of weaponry every year to the warring tribes in the Middle East . Switzerland has no enemies. Yet the Swiss are armed to the teeth and dug into every hill and under every building.

US policy is the evil-parallel-universe inverse of the Swiss. The US intervenes everywhere, spies on everyone, supports every faction in every dispute. We have as many enemies as there are disputatious people in the world. Yet we spend more effort on disarming our own airline pilots and other law-abiding citizens than on providing shelters for our children against nuclear, chemical, or biological attack. We have an expensive conventional army, and quite a few aging offensive nuclear weapons. But no defense for our children.

The U.S. has been stuck defending against nuclear attack from the Soviets. They've they've given up on defending against except by promising total destruction to everyone and their neighbor (an inappropriate state to be in now that the Soviets aren't around anymore, the russians are friends, and anyone who wants to nuke the U.S. will be anonymous (or will be from the middle east, and the U.S. can't nuke that entire region since they need non-radioactive oil).

In contrast, the swiss have as perfect a defence as possible. It's a defence that was perfect two centuries ago, and, with upgrades of weapons, is still perfect. Of course, having the terrain help in the defence and digging into all those mountains helps a lot.


Camiguinaction SEO

My good friends at the best beach resort and dive shop on Camiguin, and perhaps the Philippines need some help with search engine optimization of their website (http://www.camiguinactiongeckos.com). I turned to a friend who does SEO at his day job. My friend Ituloy AngSulong Al Palconit has quoted a reasonable amount, around US$200. I haven't heard from barb or diggi yet, if they're accepting the request. I hope they do it. PHP 10,000 isn't a lot of money for moving up to the first or second page on Google or other search engines.



The post title says, "this is why everyone hates us".

Naah, man. they weren't killing anyone yet. they were just being the bastards they always were.

We don't hate you for that. It's when you kill us that we hate you. When you're being bastards, we just want you to go back home and do it to your own instead of to us.


The best science show on television

Yes, Mythbusters is the best science show on television

It's too bad I can't watch television anymore, because I'm either working too hard or watching the baby. But that is definitely a great show. And a great way to sneak knowledge and scientific viewpoints into the heads of children and not-so-children.

not really

A survey says that the U.S. is unfriendly to visitors.

It may be that. Or it may be that now. I never did experience that though. Of course the long lines at TSA are irritating, but they probably have those in other countries too. And it's not like I have a burning need to prove existence of my right to piss off TSA (I'm not an American, I don't have that right, so I prudently choose prudence).

There is something to be said against visa procedures. And U.S. embassies are notoriously unfriendly places (not hostile, just, suspicious and unwelcoming). But all that unfriendliness is probably justified given that so many want to go to the U.S. and so many are willing to cheat and lie to do it. I think they overreact when they put up all those defences against car bombing, but it's still understandable (though ugly).

I've never had problems with U.S. immigration or customs personnel though. Nor with TSA either. On the other hand, I'm very upfront about everything, I do my homework and don't bring anything prohibited, and I'm always relaxed at U.S. airports. I guess people who are unclear on what they're supposed to bring, or who intend to overstay their visas in the U.S. are more tense.

Of course, there's always the (probably very slight) risk that Immigration, Customs or TSA will hold the foreign traveller. People will worry about that. I tend to be very relaxed about that, if they had held me in the past, they would have let me go and I'd have had something to blog about.

Given the general tone of recent blog entries though, I'd be nervous too about going to the U.S. So I'm not going anytime soon. But, actually, I wouldn't be surprised if a trip to the U.S. now were to be as enjoyable as previous trips have been.

On the other hand, I haven't been to Europe. Maybe things are so much better there that it'd be an eye opener. I've been to Hong Kong, that was busy, businesslike, and efficient. I've been to Macau, that was unpleasant because they are so open about discriminating against Filipinos there. I will never go to Macau again unless someone is paying me incredibly big bucks to go. And even then, I will ALWAYS tell Filipinos that they shouldn't go to Macau.

So, Macau is worse than the U.S.

Israeli settlements on stolen land

Close to half of Israeli settlement land is on private palestinian land, and Israel won't do anything to help the palestinian owners get their land back.

Of course that's par for the course. Governments protect their favored citizens and they will ALWAYS steal anything they can from anyone who is helpless and has no government to protect him. The United States stole Philippine sovereignty from Filipinos, because there was no other government that would stop them at the time. That's what governments do. The United States is stealing huge tracts of Iraq right now to build tens of military bases, almost all of which, no doubt, will become permanent U.S territory, for use as torture chambers just as stolen Guantanamo is now.

Apparently, the international community is not yet strong enough to protect the rights of non-citizens (the palestinians are a people with no country since they're not citizens of israel and they don't have their own country either). Maybe in another hundred years. But maybe not.

In a visit to the Middle East former president Bush asks:
How come everybody wants to come to the United States if the United States is so bad?

And elsewhere in the article:

Another hostile audience member, a college student in Abu Dhabi, told Bush that U.S. wars were aimed at opening markets for American companies. He said globalization was contrived for America's benefit at the expense of the rest of the world. Bush was having none of it.

"I think that's weird and it's nuts," Bush said. "To suggest that everything we do is because we're hungry for money, I think that's crazy. I think you need to go back to school."

The two quotes are related though, although of course an American wouldn't see the point. As a practical matter, yes, the U.S. does what it does in the world because it wants to protect and increase the incomes of U.S. companies. Free trade doesn't make any headway in the U.S. when big corn interests are concerned, but the U.S. will coerce third world countries to open their markets so that the U.S. can sell all manner of goods and services to those countries. There is nothing inherently wrong with that sort of policy. It's what governments do. The wrong there, the reason why the world looks down on U.S. policy, is that it enforces those policies with force. It bribes foreign governments to get on the bandwagon and pass legislation protecting U.S. interests (lately, primarily information technology and intellectual property rights), it strongarms the weak. It is also very successful at all of this. Mr Bush, THAT'S why everybody wants to go to the United States. It's better to be the oppressor than the oppressed. The oppressor can earn many times what the oppressed can earn and there's less chance of being killed and tortured if one is an American citizen. Sure, it's still possible (taser, taser, taser, taser deaths), but it happens much less often than out here in the real world.

Those people who want to go to the United States? They go because the good life is purchased at the cost of oppressing the rest of the world. A generalized pride in one's sons is a good thing, certainly. But mistakes should be corrected gently, and mistakes (or purposeful evil) that kills people (never mind the dead Iraqi and Afghan civilians Mr Bush, just look at those dead american kids) should be corrected vigorously. If you won't correct your son when he's killing your own citizens, do you wonder why he turned out as he did?


Mumpsimus: Rules for writing

Mumpsimus' rules for writing are hilarious

When specifying particular cities in fiction, do not use cities that have been specified in poems. Poems have so few things left of their own anymore that we should let them have their own cities.

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Reddit Reduced

From reading slashdot, reddit, digg and others (on bloglines, all of those links are sufficiently famous, they don't need the infinitesimal pagerank boost I could give them by linking to them), I see a lot of interesting links all the time. I email some of those to friends, I always forget one or another friend when sending links around. Sometimes I make up for it by sending it separately. Usually I don't though.

I think that i'll post summaries of things found on those aggregators here. So this place will become sort of reddit redux, my own favorite links from reddit, digg, etc. I won't post everything I read. but the ones that resonate. Some will be political (George W Bush, that incompetent, destined for ignominy), but hopefully there won't be as much of that. I may post some youtube videos. Actually, I probably will post quite a lot of those. Some of those are damn funny. Sol and I were laughing so hard when we saw the one on the fainting goats.

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Generation Debt and ViolentAcres

There is an article on ABC News about twenty-somethings drowning in debt. I've been watching that happen in the U.S. for nigh on 20 years now. I was in a similar (but much smaller) trap when I was in the U.S. some years.

I link to that because I saw an amusing pair of posts from Violent Acres on a related subject You can learn a lot from a rich girl, on how even little rich girls can get so sunk in debt they don't know what to do, and how she got herself sunk in debt also and how she got out of debt through drastic measures.

I'm sure there are a lot of amusing posts on that blog. I was highly entertained with the first few posts I read. Entertained enough to add her to my RSS feed. Some things are disturbing, like the post on "Retard Genocide". I guess she has "issues" then. But then I'd have found that out if I'd read more of the blog. And she does seem to make a point of being mean occasionally. Not sure what that's about. Occasional meanness makes for some entertainment. Not that much, but to pull in the hoi-polloi and get someone to buy an ad, I'm sure it helps. And some people enjoy letting out a little cattiness. I'm getting ahead of myself there though. I haven't read enough of the blog to know what she's really about. I doubt if I will, either. I don't need to make sense of her wholeness to enjoy the occasional article since she does write amusing posts. And the meanness and occasional stupidity due to "issues", well, I'm very good at ignoring stupidities as long as they don't involve someone impinging on my personal space.


following the trash

I am pleasantly surprised at a system of trash pickup that is current here in Sta Mesa, Manila. My wife and I recently moved here because it would be easier to take care of Timmy, our newborn son and because living with my in-laws would save money all around and would allow me to share an internet connection with everyone. All good things.

Every day the trash truck comes by. Unlike in the U.S., we don't have large lawns nor can we leave our trash in large, sturdy trash bags on the street since:

  1. most people won't spend the money for those trash bags since the bags are expensive and most people are poor.

  2. dogs, cats and rats will rip through the garbage looking for food.

  3. there are a lot of really poor people who will rip through the garbage looking for food and for recyclables, which they can sell.

I'm certainly not against helping the poor people recycle (in fact, read on, this *is* about helping the poor), but in ripping through the trash (usually in grocery plastic bags) the trash is scattered all over the street and can't be put back into any neat state. So the streets would have trash all over the place.

In any case, I'm pleasantly surprised by the system they have here. Maybe it's an informal system that only works with our trash truck, but it's a great system that could be emulated elsewhere. When the trash truck comes by and blows its great airhorn, a nice lady comes over to our gate and calls for the trash. She's not a garbageman at all, just an enterprising nice lady who recycles. She and her husband follow the trash truck and, when it stops, they knock on nearby doors asking for the garbage. We give them the garbage bags and they throw the garbage in the truck. Since they're nice, my mother-in-law also sets aside recyclables and gives those to the lady already separated from the trash, and pretty clean.

I bet all the houses along our row, and all the houses she visits as the truck moves along slowly all separate their garbage. It's a great way to help an enterprising woman who goes out of her way to be nice to homeowners, and who also provides a great service (without her, we would have to take the garbage out to the truck when it arrives, not a big deal for us since we're pretty close to the corner where the truck hangs out, but possibly a problem for those further down the street, especially the old and infirm who stay at home while their children work in the daytime).

It's an efficient way to recycle, it helps a lovely woman who provides a great service to a lot of people, and it doesn't cost anything. It's totally win-win. Well, maybe not. If we had a much better economy, the woman would be doing something else. But while we are trying to dig ourselves out of the hole our corrupt politicians have created for us, it's a great win-win.

I bet that woman would be a great subject for a short news story. When we throw stuff away this Christmas (we have too much stuff, sol and I regularly give away clothes we don't use anymore), I'm going to give her a lot of that stuff. I've given away enough clothes to my friends Sochie and Jack and their kids :-).


More U.S. hypocrisy

After a massacre of women and children all the U.S. can do is call for restraint. It's not enough that they provide Israel with the weapons to kill civilians. It's not enough that they send billions of dollars to Israel to maintain an economy which grinds down Palestinians (and not just the muslims, Christian Palestinians too). They call for restraint when they invade countries willy-nilly, kill civilians left and right, basically follow the israeli model of acting the bully.

They could send aid to the Palestinians, but they won't do it. Instead, when the Palestinians are killed all they can say is that they should practice restraint. That's not mere hypocrisy, that's abetting what Israel does to arab civilians. Without sending any concrete help, the U.S. is asking those being ground down by the Israeli boot to kiss the earth and make their peace with it since they're going to be down there a long time.

I'm waiting for Israeli society to wake up to their own hypocrisy and inhumanity. Seems like it's going to be a long wait though. Israel *should* survive. I love the idea of Israel. It's what they've done to themselves that I lament. They can still dig themselves out of the hole of fear and hate that they've made for themselves. But, again, it's going to be a long wait for that, particularly with the U.S. giving them all the weapons they need to dishonor themselves even more by using them against civilians, women, children, babies.


Baby is home

Sol gave birth on Nov 2, at 6:04AM or so. Timothy Joseph Quimpo is named the same as my brother, but the name really stems from my paternal grandfather Timoteo, my father Jose and our favorite (and only) maternal uncle, Jose.

I was going to post this on MonotremeTech, my other me :-) because it's sort of technical, my first youtube upload. Changed my mind though. This place needs a respite from recriminations against {elided description here} politics, politicians, and the depravity of U.S. foreign policy.