Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Product recall: Black & Decker coffeemaker

Let me post this news on a product recall first, though I have a few other things about coffee in mind right now. The recall was made several days ago:

Major Coffeemaker Recall

Last Update: 6/24 12:58 pm

WASHINGTON -- The Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced the recall of more than a half-million coffeemakers manufactured by Black & Decker and sold over the past three years.

The "Spacemaker" models in question are typically mounted on the bottom of kitchen or office cabinets.

They may have brewing baskets that can shift out of place and allow scalding hot coffee to pour onto user's hands. There have already been 235 complaints and ten reports of burns.

See the C.P.S.C. news release below to learn more.

CPSC Press Release

C.P.S.C. News Release:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Black & Decker® brand Spacemaker™ Coffeemakers

Units: About 584,000

Distributor: Applica Consumer Products Inc., of Miramar, Fla.

Hazard: The brew basket can shift out of alignment allowing hot water to overflow. This poses a scalding and burn hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received 235 reports of hot water overflowing and contacting consumers, including 10 reports of second-degree burns.

Full article here

US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Coming soon...

As always, a wide array of topics covered -- from cover to cover :-)

Besides the topics you see on the cover, there's an interesting feature on Keep Love Real author Lora Tan-Garcia, who is one of the pioneers of the I AM STRONG program for teens, which has been making waves in schools in different parts of the country. Other interesting reads are on household cleaning agents (and what they really contain!), taking a closer look at babywearing, something on dengue, and a feature on children's book author Grace D. Chong.

In a week's time, this gleeful Rubik's cube-clutching baby girl, Therese Murrf Trinidad, will be smiling at shoppers along the store shelves. So... abangan!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"Free" huh?!

"Pero may minimum order ho na P150."

That's the line from the girl at the counter that elicited a fake smile from me that spelled "Now you tell me/I should've known there was a catch/'free wifi, my foot'/don't call it 'free wifi' when you're going to require people to spend a minimum amount before you provide the service that you call 'free'".

Walked into Bo's Coffee, Megamall, 5th level.

Glanced delightedly at the FREE WI-FI sticker on the windows.

"Free ang wifi 'nyo?" I made sure to clarify with the girl at the counter, before looking over the yummy pastries, bars and cake slices.

She replied 'yes'!!

I ordered one of those P60-carrot bars.

Then she says the line that would practically crush the heart of anybody who looks forward to free surfing time -- "pero may minimum order ho na P150."

Then comes the smile.

That's what happened yesterday.

Kadalasan, kung kailan ka nagtitipid, mas lalo kang napapagastos!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Comics, wi-fi and other news around the world

Design innovations that come naturally

The AC Adapter MIDORI has graduated from being a prototype — that was first shown publicly when it was known as VINE — to becoming a production model that joins mobile-phone service-provider KDDI's new stylish iida (innovation, imagination, design, and art) collection of phones and accessories. Produced by Shunsuke Umiyama under his MicroWorks design label, the MIDORI is an adapter for your phone that camouflages the boring black cables we're all used to with a covering of green and plastic leaves. The first accessory released for the iida brand, consider it a sign that future releases will be worth a look.

Limited to to a production run of 20,000, the AC Adapter MIDORI is sold for ¥1,365 at all KDDI stores and the company's online store.

Read more at The Japan Times

* * * * *

How to find Wi-fi in Greece

Free internet access is readily available in Athens, with potentially hundreds more hotspots coming soon to the rest of the land of Pericles. Warning: access at Starbucks is twice the U.S. price.

Read more at Spero News

* * * * *

Wrong girl, Archie!

Stunning, heart-breaking news: Archie Andrews is going to get married, and he has chosen the wrong girl. Archie Comics Publications has announced that he will soon pop the question to wealthy beauty Veronica Lodge in the 600th book in the series, due to arrive in September. Betty won’t be the only one crying her eyes out.

Read more at MercatorNet

* * * * *

Twelve Mexican States now protect right to life in their constitutions

The San Luis de Potosi State Congress in Mexico approved a measure Thursday reforming the State Constitution to protect the right to life of children from the moment of conception.

Representative Vicente Toledo Alvarez said the reform would ensure that the State’s Constitution clearly recognizes the right to life as the most basic of all human rights and protects it from the moment of conception.

Read more at Catholic News Agency

* * * * *

Mattel to pay $2.3 million penalty for toy hazard

Mattel Inc. and its Fisher-Price subsidiary will pay a $2.3 million civil penalty in an agreement with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for selling Chinese-made toys with hazardous levels of lead.

The fine, the commission’s largest for a toymaker, involves 95 toy models, from Barbie accessories to “Sarge” cars, commission spokesman Scott Wolfson said today.

Read more at Bloomberg

"Ang mamatay ng dahil sa 'yo"

Professing a willingness to die for country or for a cause sounds very dramatic. But how much of a chance really would a person be given to demonstrate this willingness -- unless of course he were living in a war-torn region or during Martial Law? Sometimes, it's the willingness to live (and keep living and doing one's part, whatever that may be) that matters.

Theres The Rub
True measure
By Conrado de Quiros
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:17:00 06/11/2009

Someone asked me in a forum some time ago: Whatever happened to the patriotism of the Filipino? It wasn’t too long ago when we were willing to die for country. Indeed it wasn’t too long ago when we admired Ninoy Aquino for saying “The Filipino is worth dying for.” When will we get that spirit back? Or can we still do so?

I said: True enough, we seem to have become a nation of fence-sitters, if not a nation of cowards. A nation of dodgers, if not a nation of deserters. After a couple of EDSA revolts, we seem to have lost our mojo. Despite being governed shabbily, or indeed despite being used and abused, pressed and oppressed, we’ve said nothing and done nothing, taking it like a dog.

Full article at Philippine Daily Inquirer

Monday, June 08, 2009

Victory at last

Photo courtesy of Tennis Planet. Go there for more photos


Federer wins 1st French Open for 14th major title

06/08/2009 | 07:22 AM

PARIS – Oh, how Roger Federer savored every moment with his first French Open trophy.

He raised it overhead. He cradled it in the crook of his elbow. He closed his eyes and kissed it. He examined the names of other champions etched on its base. Even in a downpour on Court Philippe Chatrier, as heavy, gray clouds blocked any shred of sunlight Sunday, that silver trophy sure seemed to glisten.

Finally, the lone major championship that had eluded Federer was his. With his latest masterful performance, Federer tied Pete Sampras' record of 14 major singles titles and became the sixth man to complete a career Grand Slam.

History was at stake, and Federer was at his best, completely outplaying No. 23-seeded Robin Soderling of Sweden en route to a 6-1, 7-6 (1), 6-4 victory in a French Open final that lacked suspense but not significance.

"Maybe my greatest victory — or certainly the one that takes the most pressure off my shoulders," Federer said in French, moments after dropping to his knees, caking them with clay, as his 127 mph service winner ended the match. "I think that now, and until the end of my career, I can really play with my mind at peace and no longer hear that I've never won at Roland Garros."

Full article at GMA News

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Today is the day

There it is again -- a sports writeup wherein the athlete's style is being described with words like "elegant," "sophistication," "grace." The last time I read something like this, it was about boxer Manny Pacquiao and his "elegant footwork." I really get a kick out of such associations :-)

Today I read again an article from the Telegraph, this time about World No. 2 Roger Federer and his upcoming French Open championship game, and there it was again --

In this age of baseline bombardment, when most players seem to look at a racket as a piece of military hardware, Federer plays with great elegance and sophistication. Federer goes about his business with a certain style.

Today's game is extremely significant as the Swiss player again has a shot at winning the French Open championship -- this time with defending champ Rafael Nadal "out of the way," having lost early in the preliminary rounds. The game is at 9 pm, Manila time.


French Open 2009: Roger Federer is one step away from greatness
True greatness could flow from Roger Federer's racket on the red clay of Court Philippe Chatrier at Roland Garros on Sunday.

By Mark Hodgkinson in Paris
Published: 3:44PM BST 06 Jun 2009

If Federer defeats Robin Soderling this afternoon, that would give the Swiss a first French Open title, put him level with Pete Sampras on a record 14 majors, and make him only the sixth man in history to win all four grand slams.

But, more significantly than that, it would bring confirmation, if confirmation were even needed, that Federer is the greatest tennis player of all time, the alpha male for all the generations.

Full article at the Telegraph

Saturday, June 06, 2009

They're not faster than a speeding bullet but...

... they fight crime just the same. And in costume!

Amid hard times, in influx in superheroes
June 4, 2009 -- Updated 1339 GMT (2139 HKT)

By Craig Johnson
Special to CNN

(CNN) -- Mr. Ravenblade, Mr. Xtreme, Dark Guardian and hundreds of others. Some with elaborate costumes, others with haphazardly stitched outfits, they are appearing on city streets worldwide watching over the populace like Superman watched over Metropolis and Batman over Gotham City.

Geist patrols the Rochester, Minnesota, area, with a group of like-minded and similarly dressed colleagues.

Geist patrols the Rochester, Minnesota, area, with a group of like-minded and similarly dressed colleagues.

As people become disillusioned from financial woes and a downtrodden economy and look to put new purpose in their lives, everyday folks are taking on new personas to perform community service, help the homeless and even fight crime.

"The movement is growing," said Ben Goldman, a real-life superhero historian. Goldman, along with Chaim "Life" Lazaros and David "Civitron" Civitarese, runs the New York-based Web site Superheroes Anonymous as part of an initiative dedicated to organizing and making alliances with superhero groups.

According to Goldman, who goes by the moniker Cameraman because of his prowess in documenting the movement, economic troubles are spawning real life superheroes.

"A lot of them have gone through a sort of existential crisis and have had to discover who they are," Goldman said. People are starting to put value in what they can do rather than what they have, he said. "They realize that money is fleeting, it's in fact imaginary."

Estimates from the few groups that keep tabs put the worldwide total of real-life superheroes between 250 and 300. Goldman said the numbers were around 200 just last summer.

Mr. Ravenblade, laid off after a stint with a huge computer technology corporation, found inspiration for his new avocation a few years ago from an early morning incident in Walla Walla, Washington.

Full article at CNN

Thursday, June 04, 2009

If it were at all possible for me...

...to be a man for a day, I would grab the chance.

I would certainly love to know how it is to be told something and not understand what the fuss is all about, while all the women around know exactly what's going on and are already analyzing the situation and offering theories or suggestions. No way is this an attempt to ridicule the tendency of most men to be clueless about things (or basically, their lack of intuition) because, after all, each gender has specific strengths and weaknesses.

Looks like one man had a chance to be in the shoes of a woman -- and the experience opened his eyes to a lot of things!

My Brief Life as a Woman

Dana JenningsDana Jennings. (Lonnie Schlein/The New York Times)

As my wife and I sat on the couch one night this past winter, reading and half-watching the inevitable HGTV, I started sweating hard and my face got so fevered and flushed that I felt as if I were peering into an oven.

I turned to Deb and said, “Man, I’m having a wicked hot flash.” And she said, “Me, too.” Then we laughed. You laugh a lot — unless your hormones are making you cry — when you’re having menopause with your wife.

I was in the middle of treatment for an aggressive case of prostate cancer last winter, and it included a six-month course of hormone therapy. My Lupron shots suppressed testosterone, which is the fuel for prostate cancer.

When your testosterone is being throttled, there are bound to be side effects. So, with the help of Lupron, I spent a few months aboard the Good Ship Menopause with all the physical baggage that entails. It’s a trip that most men don’t expect to take.

The side effect that surprised me most were the hot flashes — not that I got them, I was expecting that, but by how intense they were. They often woke me in the middle of the night and made me sweat so much that I drenched the sheets. In midwinter I’d walk our miniature poodle, Bijou, wearing shorts and a T-shirt. I sometimes felt as if Deb could fry eggs on my chest. (It’s also a bit disconcerting when your hot flashes are fiercer than your wife’s.)

When it comes to hot flashes, ladies, I salute you. After my brief dalliance with that hormonal phenomenon, it seems to me it’s an under-reported condition. And it’s certainly under-represented in the arts. Where are the great hot flash novels or movies? How come there’s not a Web site or magazine called “Hot Flash Monthly”?

Full article at The New York Times

New month, new issue

Baby mag's latest offering! What's inside? Here are just some of the questions answered:

How does video-viewing negatively affect an infant's language development?

What are some tips on handling the youngest child?

Is it possible to unspoil a spoiled child?

What's the big deal about the kind of dolls we choose for the kiddos?

How should exercise-induced asthma be treated?

Why is a newborn's poo almost black?

When is it safe to have a baby sit up against a pillow?

How can one avoid having to borrow money?

Eight-month-old Jaden Chua Medina had a blast at Gymboree Manila Polo Club as photographer Kristin Rodriguez of Little People Lifestyle Photography captured him in images as he laughed, rolled, explored, slid, sat down, looked bored, squealed and made all sorts of gestures during the pictorial. He's wearing a cute tee by Jacobo and Beatrice -- too bad the "Hulog ng langit" statement across the front couldn't be seen here.

More info about this newest issue here

Available at all SM Dept. stores (the baby section), major National Bookstore outlets, Baby & Co. (Power Plant mall and The Podium), Babyland, Bufini, Procreation (Shangri-la Mall), and Big & Small Co. (Shangri-la Mall). For subscriptions and inquiries, call Lourdes at 728-3655/56.

Monday, June 01, 2009

The latest from Pixar!

Learned about Up only today, and according to Petrufied, the movie opens in Metro Manila theaters on Friday! So, from the makers of Ratatouille, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, and Toy Story comes another flick worth your money :-)

You can watch the movie trailer here


Review: `Up' takes 3-D animation to new heights

LOS ANGELES – "Up." The title is deceptively simple, which is fitting, because the latest achievement from Pixar Animation is deeper and more complex on every level than it would initially appear.

It's a classic B-movie exotic adventure, the kind that inspired Steven Spielberg and George Lucas to make "Raiders of the Lost Ark," but it's told through the most high-tech, gorgeous 3-D animation.

It's a mismatched buddy comedy, the kind we've seen countless times before, but the buddies are a curmudgeonly 78-year-old man and a tubby 8-year-old boy — who wind up together in a flying house, traveling to South America.

And, as with many family films that get pumped out each summer, it has talking dogs. But it's how the dogs talk and what they say that are truly inspired, and oddly realistic.

Pete Docter (Pixar's "Monsters, Inc.") and co-director and writer Bob Peterson turn their imagination this time to human beings, rare creatures in the animated kingdom. But between the richness of the characters, the meatiness of their interaction and the authenticity of the details, it won't take you long to forget that "Up" is a cartoon and become immersed.

Full review here

ADDENDUM: The movie hasn't opened in Manila. Posters are out, though, and according to a friend, it'll open in August. Bah! Two long months away!

Street talk

It's a given -- some people will end up crossing streets without using the designated spots for crossing despite the presence of those designated spots called pedestrian lanes. Need I stress the possible life-threatening consequences of acting as if those white stripes don't exist? Normally, a driver tends to slow down when there's a pedestrian lane coming up; otherwise, it's full speed ahead! Imagine if he had to be on constant alert-mode-for-the-possibility-of-running-over-someone every few seconds or, worse, do the step-on-the-brakes-then-step-on-the-gas cha-cha routine every few meters. Being the pedestrian in this scenario is no "walk in the park" either (unless you're talking about a deserted road in the middle of nowhere, in which case strolling to the other side of the road whenever you feel like it would hardly pose any threat to your life).

I often wondered why people in Manila refused to use those white stripes despite the obvious danger to one's life that doing so exposes the pedestrian to. (Maybe it was just to me or to regular drivers that it was obvious) But then the most common reason, I suppose, for making a dash for the other side of the street without using the designated lanes is the same reason for which we make many choices easily taken for granted: personal convenience.

Why walk a hundred meters more to the overpass when one can easily cross the street right here?

Why approach the TV set to change the channel when the remote allows one to do just that without getting up?

Why look for an authentic DVD copy of that movie when right there on the sidewalk is a much cheaper, (albeit pirated) version of it?

Why pick up the phone to dial your colleague's number and discuss some urgent matter when he's on available status on your buddy list?

Bottom line is, ignoring street signs and traffic rules -- particularly when following those signs and rules entails effort on one's part -- is usually due to a case of laziness.


Not long ago I spent five days in Davao and stayed with friends who lived outside the city. It was only five days yet one thing I realized was that anyone who grew up in a place like it would understandably grow accustomed to walking on any part of a street he pleased. I certainly found myself walking on the middle of the roads I passed (except the main roads that were part of jeepney and tricycle routes) on the third day of my stay there -- and looking for pedestrian lanes and finding none, I crossed bigger roads wherever it seemed like an okay spot to cross.

I often wondered, too, why people in some parts of Manila seem to walk on the middle of the street with much ease, and -- when warned of approaching motorists, zooming or not -- would nonchalantly adjust their path gradually to head for the side of the road, out of harm's way. Such a relaxed countenance, nary a sense of urgency. Which is what I noticed, too, during my brief stay in the South. People walked fairly slowly, passengers got on and off tricycles sans the hurried manner so characteristic of fellas in Manila. Even among drivers of private vehicles temporarily wound up in some intersection, it was pleasantly puzzling to hear no invectives and see no trace of impatience whatsoever. What serenity these people have!

I suppose I long for the slow pace of daily life in Davao. And I guess I understand more the tendency of some people who probably grew up outside Manila who tend to treat entire streets as pedestrian lanes. I understand them more, but I still know that those white stripes aren't mere decorations, painted for aesthetic purposes. And, I still believe in street signs and traffic rules (some of them being senseless and inappropriate is beside the point). And though it's obvious that there will always be people who end up ignoring those rules, maybe we should stop using silly excuses like "rules are made to be broken." Unless we savor the stress of Manila traffic and would love to keep it as it is :-)
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