Monday, April 26, 2010

Four-legged buddies

A delightfully touching (if confusing at first) photo, from Cute Overload:

Check out the toddler and his feline friend with their version of a WWF match:

The meaning of education

It would really be unfair to assume that some individuals, organizations or sectors aim to corrupt the minds of children. Not even the notion that they value monetary gain over educating minors to grow up decent human beings ought to be assumed. This way, the issues can be evaluated more objectively and with more detachment.

Consider the following:

"Sex is for enjoyment as much as we can or want," Spanish adolescents are being told by their socialist government. "Do and let others do whatever they wish."
Those words appeared in a pamphlet distributed to high school students in the region of Catalonia, according to Spanish news site Forum Libertas (Liberty Forum).
"Enjoying sex is a natural and recommendable thing," the pamphlet also states. "Learn the best ways to enjoy it with security and tranquility."
The pamphlet also endorses homosexual relationships, Forum Libertas reports. No mention is made of abstinence, nor the consequences of sexual intercourse.
The program, known as "Education for Citizenship and Human Rights" (EpC) is being imposed on all schools in Spain, public and private. Families who refuse to allow their children to attend have been threatened with prosecution. Although schools have some latitude in how they implement the program, Spanish government officials at all levels are clearly seeking to normalize promiscuity and unnatural sexual behavior.

Read the full article in LifeSiteNews

* * * * * * * * * *
The complainants object to schools teaching students to accept homosexuality as normal and singled out a third-grade textbook used in Córdoba, Andalusia, which states that "nature has given us sex so we can use it with another girl, with a boy or with an animal".
Read the full article in Euractiv

* * * * * * * * * *
In late October, the regional government of Extremadura in southwestern Spain launched a new sexual-education campaign designed to facilitate the "development of healthy habits, self-esteem and safety." Although the publicly funded campaign includes the publication of pamphlets and an online magazine, the highlight is a series of workshops for 14-to-17-year-olds aimed at educating participants on anatomy, body image, safe-sex practices, gender equality and, in the mildly celebratory words of an early press release (since redacted), "sexual self-exploration and erotic self-knowledge." Or, in other words, masturbation.
It was this last element that attracted attention across the country. "Masturbation Workshops for Adolescents," ran the headline in Que!, a free daily in Madrid. "Extremadura Promotes Masturbation," cried the centrist national paper El Mundo.
Admittedly, [Extramadura Youth Council president Laura] Garrido and the other organizers bear more than a little responsibility for the response. They're the ones, after all, who chose the instructors to lead the workshops: two women who, in addition to running sex-education workshops, co-own a shop in Madrid called Lola's Pleasures, which specializes in erotic devices. The instructors, who have given adult sex-education classes sponsored by municipal governments in other regions of the country, didn't help matters by bringing a selection of sex toys to the first teen workshop in late October in order "to dispel myths," Garrido says.
In the Netherlands, for instance, teachers at public schools lead discussions in which they ask girls ages 12 to 15 what they would do if their boyfriends refused to wear a condom. In Finland, basic sex education begins in kindergarten, and the curriculum for ninth-graders includes lessons on abortion and masturbation. In Germany, where sex education is mandatory, public school teachers have been known to discuss oral sex and different sexual positions.

Be reasonable

Atheist group calls on Obama to endorse 'National Day of Reason' instead of 'National Day of Prayer'
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
By Pete Winn, Senior Writer/Editor


The humanist group praised last week’s ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Barbara B. Crabb that the 1952 statute creating the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional because its “sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function” – to quote from the judge’s ruling.

“The government should not be directing citizens to pray. In addition to being unconstitutional, it’s also especially offensive to people who don’t believe in a god and are made to feel excluded by the observance,” AHA Executive Director Roy Speckhardt said.

Those defending the National Day of Prayer, however, say that even if an atheist were to be recognized, that would not justify ending public recognition for National Day of Prayer.

“The American Humanist Association and their allied groups have every right to try to promote a new celebration if they want to -- and if they can persuade people to participate voluntarily, that’s fine, but I don’t think they have a right to do away with a long-standing tradition that is deeply rooted in our nation’s history – which is calling the people to prayer,” Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, told

The National Day of Prayer is actually quite “inclusive,” Spriggs argued.

“It’s inclusive of the vast majority of Americans, who do believe in a Supreme Being and who do pray, and it is inclusive of the vast majority of Americans throughout the history of our country – and the vast majority of the leaders of our country though our history,” Spriggs said.

Read the full article at CNSNews

Cartoon by Steve Kelley at

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Busybody on a global level

(name tags of four children in front, from left: Philippines, Hawaii, [Puerto] Rico, Cuba)

Yet another demonstration of cultural imperialism.

Yesterday Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (D-N.Y.) introduced the Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act of 2010. In a statement from Rep. Clarke’s office the act “seeks to strengthen and expand the U.S. government’s current program on international family planning and reproductive health into a more comprehensive sexual and reproductive health program.”


“By revising existing legislation to meet current international standards, we can establish an integrated, progressive model for delivering more efficient and effective sexual and reproductive health services across the globe.”

This reminds me of something that Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, stated recently as groups such as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United States Agency for Int'l Dev't (USAID) and Int'l Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) continue to assume and/or assert that millions and millions of women in developing nations want and need contraception -- when it's clean water and basic health care that are sorely needed.

"The existing programs of family planning are imposing Western views on people who have a different view of life and very different desires for family size," [Steven Mosher] said. The approach taken by such groups as UNFPA and Planned Parenthood is "contraceptive imperialism," according to Mosher, "exporting the mentality of Manhattan ... or Hollywood to relatively innocent, untouched corners of the world."

If the Philippines elects a leader from one of the presidential candidates who profess support for the Reproductive Health bill (HB 5043), then this cultural imperialism will very easily take place. And our leaders will sell our country, along with our values and people, wholeheartedly to the global conquerors.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Wishing for rain

When temperatures reach 37 degrees celsius during the day, and electric bills skyrocket, airconditioning starts feeling like a privilege of aristocrats who have half a dozen rest homes and take bimonthly vacations in seaside towns and mountain resorts.

However, thanks to the sweltering heat that we are currently experiencing during the height of summer, I have discovered the wonder that is a glass of iced water (the appreciation a wonder in itself, considering I have been viewing old Coca-Cola commercials on YouTube quite often the past couple of weeks), and the delight of a quick bath using iced water in a pail!!! Let me emphasize that the amount of ice (in the pail, not the glass) will certainly spell the difference between healthy refreshment and falling ill.

Hence, I am wishing for rain, for when there was a drizzle one afternoon recently, it was as if even the grass took a breather from the scorching heat. No one likes either being inside a sauna or feeling like there is a giant hair dryer nearby. Which is why even merely watching someone having a ball amid raindrops gave me much relief. Here is Gene Kelly in that wonderful scene from the 1952 comedy musical "Singin' in the Rain" (which, I learned, the actor also co-directed and for which he provided the choreography). Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Think about it

Something I agree with:

Information should be used as food for thought,
not poison to the soul.
~ Shellie R. Warren

Something I hope is inaccurate:

Most people are willing to pay more to be amused
than to be educated.
~ Robert C. Savage, Life Lessons

Something I would like to understand:

There is no hope for a civilization which starts each day
to the sound of an alarm clock.
~ Author Unknown

Fast and swift

Thanks to a Facebook friend, I came across this video of a clever bag-snatching operation that took place in a fast food joint. I've watched it several times already, noting the apparent involvement of 5 persons in the crime (maybe more?). Too bad nobody seemed to be manning the security camera, or else the thieves would have been apprehended right there and then.

I'm posting it here to serve as a warning to others, especially those who usually go about their business unmindful of what goes on around them.

Friday, April 16, 2010

He's got the look

Ready for anything in the cold climate -- Pitti Uomo

Classic for the gentlemen -- New York City

Style ought to be effortless, darling

Uh... right. And suited to the weather.

Haha! Effortless and suited to the weather.

Too cool to care about image -- Paris

Color can dictate your palette of emotions for the entire day -- Florence

Style, ease, economy of movement -- Milan

Effortless style, comfort, and moves whichever way he wants. Loves the tropics.
Ready for anything.

* All photos except tropical baby and freezing girl in bonnet from The Sartorialist

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hype, hip, and hope in real beauty

I remember one summer in the '80s when my parents spent about a month in the US, visiting relatives and friends, enjoying the sights, and experiencing what they could in that limited time from coast to coast.

When they came back to the Philippines, among the "treasures" in their suitcases were back issues of Seventeen magazine. Those were for me, they said -- a gift from one of my cousins who, I assumed, outgrew them already as she was several years my senior. I was in high school and it was just the sort of thing to give me a thrill!

As far as I remember, this heralded my entry into the world of fashion & beauty (as the commercially driven mainstream culture then knew it), and into the eye-candy-but-often-authenticity-empty world of products, looks, effects, allure, and everything else that has for its foundation a "look good, feel good" dictum. It's possible that there were, of course, articles or fashion layouts meant to enrich the soul or underscore the primacy of virtue in the grand scheme of things...but I must have missed them. To be sure, I did develop a reasonably okay sense of overall style thanks partly to the years of fashion magazine-flipping. But I developed much more than that. And I believe that a lot of grownup women now will agree with me when I say that looking through women's magazines habitually -- particularly those that revolve around the themes of fashion and beauty (treated the conventional way, of course) -- prompts a feeling of inadequacy in the reader. In fact, I've read somewhere that subtle feelings of inadequacy regarding one's physical features are felt by some women after going through a magazine of this nature only once. Now I can't remember if this slight blow to one's self-confidence is primarily caused by the ads (visuals and text combined), or by the ideas put forth by both the ads and editorial content, or only by the visuals encountered by the reader as she leafed through the mag.

Needless to say, anything that sees print and is presented well seems to achieve "pedestal-status." It tends to be more easily believed or given importance (ideas) or regarded as ... ahem, cool (or hot, hip, wicked, astig, etc., depending on the generation and the colloquial terms of the times) or as something to aspire for (images) -- especially where impressionable and sometimes-unthinking media consumers are concerned.

Was I delighted to come across a blog post about one mom's vigilance and humorous take on a clothing company's apparently desperate moves in order to increase sales. This is not fresh news but it does warrant publicity. Too bad the link to the post is gone, but here's an excerpt:

...I'm not sure what led you to resurrect the old trashy t-shirt campaign, but I'm guessing it's a last ditch attempt to get back in the news. Perhaps you are relying on your once loyal market demographic: Young women with zero self-esteem and zero self-respect. You know, the kind of girls who are so desperate for attention that they're willing to settle for the wrong kind of attention. Because let's be honest, the only person who would wear one of the t-shirts above is someone who doesn't think they have anything else to offer other than well, their parts and services. But here's where your thinking is severely flawed: Girls have become much more adept at identifying the real M.O. behind marketing schemes such as yours.

I love it :-)

Women at any age can feel this bombardment (whether explicit or more subtle) of messages from the media that they're either too fat, too skinny, too short, too old or maybe not smart enough, pretty enough, perky enough, white enough... or simply, not good enough. And teenage and tween girls are probably the most vulnerable when it comes to believing and accepting such messages. Here are two things to make you think and, hopefully, help you guide them to be happy, healthy and well-adjusted individuals. You may even find these a tad helpful for yourself if there's something that's keeping you from appreciating yourself and striving for genuine self-improvement.

The first is part of Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty. The one that follows is the piece I wrote for the April 2009 issue's Editor's Notebook (bigger version here). I had blogged about that issue of Baby Magazine when it came out but decided to post the piece again for anyone who may find it helpful.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Human ingenuity, truth & the real thing

Human ingenuity, when placed in the service of genuine progress, will eventually lead to Truth.

Frankly, I have no idea why I'm writing that statement. For a while there I was thinking of recent events and some exchanges of ideas brought about by those events. Then I came across the video below, which I personally considered a welcome respite from the wave of news (some objectively reported, others seemingly a mere expression of loathing).

Here's the video:

On hindsight, perhaps what I really wanted to write above was, When love is the foundation of a person's actions, he will be led to the Truth. And when one lets that love guide him, he will help build a world furnished with love, even if he does it only in his corner of the world. Well, I have a classic TV commercial to thank for getting me on this train of thought.

Disclaimer: I continue to believe that there are other much better and healthier drinks than soda :-)

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