Saturday, June 30, 2007

Chatwin and D.V.

I am re-reading Bruce Chatwin’s What Am I Doing Here when I chanced upon this funny vignette:

Her glass of neat vodka sat on the white damask tablecloth. Beyond the smear of lipstick, a twist of lemon floated among the ice-cubes. We were sitting side-by-side, on a banquette.
“What are you writing about, Bruce?”
“Wales, Diana.”
The lower lip shot forward. Her painted cheeks swiveled through an angle of ninety degrees.
“Whales!” she said. “Blue whales!...Sperrm whales!...THE WHITE WHALE!”
“No…no, Diana! Wales! Welsh Wales! The country to the west of England.”
“Oh! Wales. I do know Wales. Little grey houses…covered in roses…in the rain…” 1982

A short while, I, too, thought that Bruce would have been writing about Diana, the Princess of Wales.
This is not representative but Chatwin is my guide to writing feature profiles. He is so good in bringing out the persona in a person. His “A Lament for Afganistan” is better than most of the political analyses coming out in that forsaken country and he wrote his in 1980. Must read also is his China profiles and, of course, The Songlines. Gougou de Jesus loves that book. I bought mine in a used bookshop in Seattle. “My Anatomy of Restlessness” I stole from a friend. Utz I bought in National at P50. On The Black Hill I bought in Booksale. My search for What Am I Doing Here is a weird story. I got one in Kinokuniya but someone got it before I can read it. I bought another in National. Same story. Then one day, I passed by Diplomat in SM Baguio and they have a hardbound copy selling for P25! I do not have In Patagonia but I have “Enduring Patagonia" by Gregory Crouch, “The Old Patagonian Express" by Paul Theroux and “Patagonia : Natural History, Prehistory and Ethnography at the Uttermost End of the Earth" edited by Colin McEwan, Luis Borrero and Alfredo Prieto as way of compensation. I know what you would say, it will not do.

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The Yin and Yang of Ghost Movies

Seven Signs You’re In a Horror Movie (FROM THE ROUGH GUIDE TO CULT MOVIES)
1) If you’re a teenager and you have sex, you will be dead before the night is over.
2) Any character shouting, “Is anyone there” will discover that, yes, someone is there, and they have a big axe/ gun/ knife and now know where to find you. Similarly, anyone who says, “I’ll be right back” clearly won’t.
3) The “he looks dead so I’ll stop running and stand near him” ruse, where the killer is just waiting before making the audience jump one last time. Surely, no one would be surprised by this “twist” any more?
4) At the end the killer is clearly dead – except there is one really final scene hinting he may nonetheless recover from multiple gunshot wounds and a beheading, just in case the movie is a hit and someone subsequently decided to cash in with a sequel.
5) Young women with big breasts running away from the murderer will always stumble (Is this a gravity thing?)
6) A bad guy is viciously stabbing, maiming and slaughtering people because his mother doesn’t love him
7) If you’ve escaped the maniac, reached the car and found your car keys, rest assured that the engine won’t start first time. Or second time. But just as he reaches you and hacks through the soft-top, that dead battery/ lost connection rights itself and you escape – with your assailant in the backseat.

CLEARLY CHINESE GHOST MOVIES ARE MUCH, MUCH BETTER (This time from SEX & ZEN AND A BULLET IN THE HEAD: The Essential Guide to Hongkong’s Mindbending Films)

Ten Things We’ve Learned from Watching Hong Kong’s Supernatural Films
1) Fierce ghosts and vampires can be subdued by affixing Taoist charms – written in red ink on yellow paper – to their foreheads. But the temptation to play with these immobilized ghoulies (push them, insult them etc) is completely irresistible and completely unadvised…
2) …Because if you taunt or belittle a subdued ghoul, the chances that the charmed paper will come off – restoring the monster’s lethality – are 100 percent.
3) Witches’ heads just won’t stay on. If they’re not accidentally getting chopped off in battle, they’re purposely being shucked with a neck-toss. In either case, witch opponents get preoccupied with the disembodied heads, which fly around howling and trying to bite. But you also can’t ignore the headless body, which always hops up and gets into the fight!
4) Humans have yang energy, the dead are yin-heavy. Since human men have more yang-energy than human women, they are a prime target for the seductive powers of female ghosts. Whether the ghost’s motives are noble or duplicitous, this kind of love never ever works out. As a Taoist priest puts it in The Golden Swallow, “There’s no love between man and ghost, Sonny.”
5) Born under a bad sign? Stars crossed in your horoscope? Sorcerers and Taoist priests shrug their shoulders; they can predict your fate, but can’t change it. Even if you started out as a hero in the film, if the geomancer says trouble ahead, you better stock up on incense and Hell Bank Notes, because you are done for.
6) When the exorcist asks for sticky rice, he damn well means sticky rice. Sticky rice is an active ingredient in poltergeist poultices. Regular rice is a spurious (and dangerous) substitute, often sneaked into the rice bag by dishonest salesmen because they’re cheaper. The consequences can be dire.
7) The Chinese word for number four sounds like the word for “death.” So don’t count on finding four in Hong Kong hospitals or dining at a restaurant called The Four Seasons! On the other hand, the number eight is considered quite lucky, and you can spot it everywhere, from billboards to personalized license plates.
8) If your pet fish die, expect trouble.
9) Ghoul knowledge: a) Ghouls can’t see humans, but they can spot them by smelling their breaths. If you hold your breath, you are invisible to a vampire. But he will put his blue face about an inch from you nose and sniff furiously! b) The undead hop (or glide) only in straight line along the floor. This is why Chinese temples often have a threshold you must step over, and why pawnshops have a screen directly in front of the entrance. Many a terrified human has received a reprieve when the vampire chasing them simply couldn’t hop a log or high curb. c) Chinese zombies are Chinese first, and zombies second. They’ll repel any unwanted foreigners before biting the locals. D) Chinese child-vampires are children first, and vampires second. Human children recognize this, and shield them from meddling adults. In Mr. Vampire Part II, kids try to protect a kid-corpse by claiming that he’s an illegal alien from the mainland.
10) No monster is ever really finally dead until it explodes.

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Draft Night

The Sonics shipped out Ray Allen. That's a ?! in chess parlance. Allen has the most reliable jump shot I ever watched live. I hope they retain Rashad Lewis, who has the second most reliable jump shot. At least now they have Szczerbiak who is a hell of a shooter to spell but has probably the 3rd most reliable. Then they also got No. 5 draftee from Celtics. I'm not really sure about Sonics. Of course, they got No. 2: Mr. Kevin Durant, who looks like the young Shawn Kemp. No? That's Oden. So it's either party or bust. Anyway, I've been told that yawning actually cools the brain. And here's a funny clip from Japanese besoboru.


Friday, June 29, 2007


And then there is the seesaw bookcase so you would know if Rizal is heavier than Rilke.

Dali! Si Dali

Thursday, June 28, 2007


I was surprised about this new Diesel ad because of the pink flowers above the model. Those are angel's trumpet. Kalumpunay more popularly known as angel's trumpet is an ubiquitous plant in the Cordillera. Only a few knew that it is a very powerful drug. The chemical active substances are scopolamine and hyoscyamine. The dried sheets and blooms are smoked or taken orally as tea. A half-hour after ingestion it comes to visions and illusions, which can change into hallucinations. These hallucinogenic effects can persist, depending upon dose, between 3 hours and 3 days. Overdosing can lead to symptoms of intoxication (swallowing difficulties, hoarseness, dryness of the mucous membranes, urine barrier, heart lawn) up to deaths by heartbeat disturbances and ventricular fibrillations. Three famous boys in Sagada ingested kalumpunay tea and were in coma for three days. One of them, a journalist, told me that he dreamt he was running oh so slowly throughout that time. Another was found on their roof. But these three are lucky because they came out well. I know some who didn't cross back.

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Salitang Kalye

Here's your guide to Salitang Kalye And here's some blank CDs which cleverly incorporate the hole:

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Red Sox

Improbable maybe last month but today, the Mariners just swept the Red Sox, which used to have the best record in the American League. It was a close series, with the final game going 2-1 decided in the 11th inning. The M's have the longest winning streak with five straight wins, followed with Central League bottom-dweller Kansas City with 4, including a sweep of the Angels. Which is good for Seattle because that means they are only five games away.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Rough Guide to Media Movies

The Rough Guide to Cult Movies is my rough guide to DVD hunting. Here are the recommended movies listed under “Media” that newsreaders, cynical provincial correspondents and despondents should watch:
Ace In the Hole (1951) directed by Billy Wilder and starring Kirk Douglas and Jan Sterling. Douglas is washed-up reporter Charles Tatum who milked the story of a man trapped in a cave.
The Agronomist (2003) directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Jean Dominique. Yes, this is the docu on Dominique, the Haitian broadcaster assassinated in 2000. This is the journalist who defied the big guns of Haiti. 'Any doubt? Not the shadow of the doubt. Not a shadow. I am sure. I am positive. Jonathan, you cannot kill the truth. You cannot kill justice. You cannot kill what we are fighting for. Participation of the citizens through the community business' That's the agronomist for you.
All The President’s Men (1976) directed by Alan Pakula and starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Washington Post’s dynamic duo who brought down Richard Nixon’s administration.
Citizen Kane (1941) The best movie according to AFI. From Rough Guide, I learned about the new term, “emotional chronology.”
Disparen a Matar (1992) directed by Carlos Azpurua starring Amalia Diaz and Jean Carlo Simancas. This is about Venezuelan politics. In this political thriller, an entire neighborhood in a poor section of Caracas has been subjected to a house-to-house, room-to-room search by the police. Why? Because poor people are criminals, and if they're not, they're in no position to protest. It's a chance to make some arrests and close some cases. Plus, it is a surefire cure for police boredom. Fun, too. In this case, it winds up being lethal fun, when the police fearlessly shoot an unarmed man in front of his mother. Like many other powerless people in similar situations, she is prepared to accept what has happened, but when she learns that the police have told the press that he was a ferocious criminal it is more than she can stand. She tells her story to a reporter, who gets the story investigated. This prompts the police to murder a witness and attempt to silence the boy's mother and the reporter. Azpurua also directed Almanecio de Golpe about his country’s military coup in 1992.
La Dolce Vita (1960) directed by Fellini. This is where paparazzi came from. Robert Altman said this movie changed his life. Maybe it will do the same to you, too.
My Favourite Year (1982) directed by Richard Benjamin. Mrk Linn-Baker as a young TV writer babysitting Peter O’Toole as an aging movie star.
Network (1976) directed by Sidney Lumet with Peter Finch, Faye Dunaway and William Holden.
Shock Corridor (1963) directed by Sam Fuller. A newspaper reporter (Peter Breck) fakes madness to enter an asylum to win a Pulitzer and indeed became mad.
Talk Radio (1988) Oliver Stone directing Eric Bogosian.
Tout Va Bien (1972) directed by Jean Luc Godard with Jane Fonda as TV reporter and Yves Montand as her producer. A Marxist movie? A Marxist parody?
The Truman Show (1998)


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Upscale Karaoke

When Hollywood goes to Japan, invariably there is always a karaoke scene. Drunken Japanese singing Japanese knock-offs of American songs. We find that funny until Bill Murray seduced Scarlett Johansson in "Lost in Translation" by crooning "More Than This" in a Tokyo karaoke bar, we took notice. Now karaoke in Tokyo is cool. Just look at these booths:


I remembered having an argument over whether Adam and Eve had belly buttons. Well, this Brazilian Playboy model is an Eve. The editors photoshopped her so much they forgot that one big (erogenous) thing. More than 600,000 already bought their Playboy in Brazil. Let's say about 90 percent were pissed off with this photo.

Monday, June 25, 2007


I hurt myself today
to see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
the only thing that's real
the needle tears a hole
the old familiar sting
try to kill it all away
but I remember everything
what have I become?
my sweetest friend
everyone I know
goes away in the end
and you could have it all
my empire of dirt

I will let you down
I will make you hurt

I wear this crown of thorns
upon my liar's chair
full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
beneath the stains of time
the feelings disappear
you are someone else
I am still right here

what have I become?
my sweetest friend
everyone I know
goes away in the end
and you could have it all
my empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
if I could start again
a million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way

"Hurt" from Johnny Cash. One of my favorite songs. Mugshots from The Smoking Gun

Blount's Literati Poems

I believe that Roy Blount Jr. is the worthy successor of Ogden Nash and here are some evidence:


Dean Jonathan Swift
Seemed constantly miffed.
He never found it futile
To badger men for being brutal.
Savage indignation tore his breast.
He never cracked a smile, except in jest.

Blake’s father was a hosier.
So’s yer
Old man. At least, suppose yer
Father were a hosier. Dealt in hose.
Just suppose.
Would it make you be a poet?
I don’t know – it
Might be one of those formative shocks,
To learn your father dealt in socks.

If Nineteenth-Century U.S. Lit
Has few embraceable men in it,
It’s not the fault
Of Whitman, Walt.

“The Dead” by Joyce, which John
Huston based a movie on,
Answers gravely what
A woman wants: not what she’s got,
But someone worthier
Who died in youth for want of her.

Summoned by someone from Mississippi,
The Poetry Muse’s response was snippy:
“Dear Mr. William Faulkner,
I go for neither highflown talk nor
Dialect nor melodrama.
Yours very sincerely, comma,
The Muse of Poetry. P.S.
Who gave you my address?”

The Novel Muse leapt at this offer;

Which is why we have Yoknapatawpha.

“Swansea girls!” said Swansea mamas,
“Stay away from Dylan Thomas.
“Green raging am I
In the death of God’s thigh”
Is his idea of showing promise.”

Edna St. Vincent Millay
Had more than a little to say
But less than a lot.
And as for F. Scott
Fitzgerald, he died in L.A.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Occultation of Venus

This marvelous photo, taken in Xinjiang, China, is of a rare astronomical phenomenon called the lunar occultation of venus, where the planet is eclipsed by the moon. Boring to you but this is my way to re-introduce to your memories that eccentric character from Mork and Mindy. Remember Nanu nanu? Remember the prophet of the Friends of Venus named Exidor? That crazy man of a cult of one who was eventually abondoned by the Venusians. What did he do? Remember he began to worship O.J. Simpson. Chilling!

I See Dead Movies

Among those produced in the past 10 years, only Sixth Sense (No. 89), Saving Private Ryan (71), Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (the highest placed at 50) and Titanic (83) made it in American Film Institute's new 100 Greatest Films List. Oh my god, Celine Dion now has bragging rights over, let's say, Brad Pitt in Fight Club or Mr. Bridges in The Big Lebowski or even Tom Cruise in Magnolia. See the rest of the list here.

Jazz in the City

I attended the meeting of the Baguio Knitting Circle aka Baguio Writer's Group and we met as per Councilor Richard Carino's request in a place where there is a piano. We met at Overtones along Assumption Rd. It was a dangerous neighborhood because there is a bar in the other side of the building which serves Red Horse. But Overtones was a nive place. In fact, it looks like a colonial house with chandeliers and many sofas. It is a jazz bar owned by professionals. You'd be surprised how many Baguio professionals can play jazz. Richard plays here on weekends. He's the pianoman. Then there's Architect Jong Abubo whom Luchie calls Chuck Manjonie because he wields a mean sax. There's Egay the longganisa maker who is the best bassist in town daw. There's Dr. Bareng also on sax. I heard Comelec Commish Brawner also plays with his sax regularly. Straight. No Viagra. Etc. Anyway, we had a meeting. Richard came late. Birthday girl Babeth already went home. Padma went home na rin but not before texting Baboo that we be careful because a hurled Red Horse bottle missed her by inches as she was walking to her car! We stayed for a few minutes as Richard and Company (why not call yourself the Richard's Smirk) played our request. Take Five and Summertime. Thanks to Richard and Baboo for reminding us that it's summer back in the US and typhoon in the Phils. Happy birthday again to Babeth.

Pothole Repair

If you've traversed Halsema at this time of the year, this scene is familiar:

Now I read recently about ants being so altruistic to make their bodies the pothole covers. They use their bodies to plug potholes along the trail leading back to the nest, so that they can rush food to the developing young at cruising speed. A study by Scott Powell and Nigel Franks at the University of Bristol, reported in the June issue of Animal Behavior, shows that these living "plugs" improve the quality of the surface and increases traffic speed and the amount of prey delivered to the nest each day.

Which gives us a better idea: plug the potholes with DPWH officials and their politician cohorts.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


It was a tragic month for Fil-Am soldiers in Iraq. There were at least four soldiers of Filipino heritage who died within the past month in Iraq, all dying of similar causes.
Army private first class Victor Michael Fontanilla, 23, was among three paratroopers killed last May 17 when a roadside bomb exploded near their Humvee, similar to what happened to Gagarin, in Iskandariya,
Fontanilla is survived by wife Noel and son, Mykal-Christian Kila. He is expecting the birth of a second son.
Though born in Stockton, California, Fontanilla is a 2nd generation Filipino-American.
A week later on May 4, Corporal Mark Ryan Climaco Caguioa, 21, died at the National Naval Medical Center in Maryland after receiving an incorrect blood transfusion in Iraq.
Caguioa, who also hailed from Stockton and served in the Second Brigade, First Cavalry Division, was being treated for wounds suffered when another improvised device exploded underneath their vehicle in Baghdad.
Like Fontanilla, Caguioa is also a 2nd generation Fil-Am.
Sgt. Richard Correa, 25, was killed last May 29 when an explosive device exploded near him and another soldier while they were on foot patrol in Ilbu, Falris, Iraq.
Correa, a highly decorated soldier assigned to the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), based in Fort Drum, N.Y, resided in Honolulu but his body was buried in Lingayen, Pangasinan last week.
The US Army is thinking of combining their computer acumen with this new minesweeper. It may offend some of you.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Hitler Bloopers

These are the Top 20 "The Dress" you ever saw in the movies. Notice that four are not even existing in real life:

1. Marilyn Monroe in her white halterneck dress - The Seven Year Itch
2. Audrey Hepburn's little black dress - Breakfast At Tiffany's
3. Jessica Rabbit's strapless red dress - Who Framed Roger Rabbit
4. Julia Roberts' spotty polo dress - Pretty Woman
5. Sharon Stone's white sleeveless dress - Basic Instinct
6. Carrie Fisher's long white dress as Princess Leia - Star Wars
7. Olivia Newton-John in her white prom dress as Sandy - Grease
8. Judy Garland's gingham dress as Dorothy - The Wizard of Oz
9. Snow White's blue and yellow dress - Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs
10. Robin Williams in his blousy dress - Mrs Doubtfire
11. Vivian Leigh's red off the shoulder dress playing Scarlett O'Hara - Gone With The Wind
12. Audrey Hepburn's black and white race day dress - My Fair Lady
13. Julie Andrews' smock dress - The Sound of Music
14. Doris Day in a yellow dress - Calamity Jane
15. Julia Roberts' long red dress - Pretty Woman
16. Cruella de Ville's black dress with polka dot coat - 101 Dalmatians
17. Jennifer Grey's pale pink dress worn for the final dance as Baby - Dirty Dancing
18. Guy Pearce's outlandish frock - The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
19. Julie Andrews' coat dress - Mary Poppins
20. Belle's yellow ball dress - Beauty and The Beast

Cinemalaya 2007

Philippine Independent Film Festival from 20 to 29 July 2007
at the Cultural Center of the Philippines
Festival Schedule


Cinemalaya 2007 Opening Ceremonies
Special Screening: FOSTER CHILD by Brillante Mendoza
The Cinemalaya 2007 Film Congress
Theme: Harnessing Technology for Artistic Expression

Venue 2 - CCP Little Theatre / Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino
Day 1 - 24 Jul/Tue (8AM to 5PM)
Day 2 - 25 Jul/Wed (9AM to 5PM)

The Cinemalaya 2007 Sine Taktakans
Meet the Cinemalaya 2007 Filmmakers Forum (Free Admission)
CCP Tanghalang Huseng Batute

Day 1 - 27 Jul/Fri (1PM to 5PM)
Day 2 - 28 Jul/Sat (1PM to 5PM)

The Cinemalaya 2007 Full-Lengths

ENDO by Jade Castro
GULONG by Sockie Fernandez
KADIN by Adolf Alix Jr.
LIGAW LIHAM by Jay Abello
PISAY by Auraeus Solito
SINUNGALING NA BUWAN by Eduardo Lejano Jr.
TRIBU by Jim Libiran
TUKSO by Dennis Marasigan

The Cinemalaya 2007 Shorts
Shorts Programme A:
DOBLE VISTA (Nisha Alicer, Nix Lañas, Caren Crisologo), MISTERYO SA HAPIS (Mark DelaCruz), NINEBALL (Enrico Aragon), ROLYO (Alvin B. Yapan), TAGAPAGLIGTAS (Ma. Solita F. Garcia)
Shorts Programme B:
DUROG (Tara Illenberger), GABON (Emmanuel DelaCruz), LIWANAG SA DILIM (Lawrence
Fajardo), MAIKLING KWENTO (Hubert Tibi), TONI (Vic Acedillo Jr.)

The Cinemalaya 2007 World Premieres
BARAKO by Manolito Sulit
Venue 3 - CCP Dream Theatre / Tanghalang Manuel Conde (09:00 PM) at 24 Jul/Tue
GAMOT SA PAGKABAGOT (Cure For Boredom) by Ato Bautista
Venue 2 - CCP Little Theatre / Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (06:15 PM) at 25 Jul/Wed
Venue 2 - CCP Little Theatre / Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (06:15 PM) at 22 Jul/Sun
HAW-ANG by Bong Ramos
Venue 2 - CCP Little Theatre / Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (06:15 PM) at 26 Jul/Thu
HILO by JP Carpio
Venue 3 - CCP Dream Theatre / Tanghalang Manuel Conde (09:00 PM) at 25 Jul/Wed
Venue 2 - CCP Little Theatre / Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (09:00 PM) at 26 Jul/Thu
SAPI by Arnold Argaño
Venue 2 - CCP Little Theatre / Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (09:00 PM) at 27 Jul/Fri
SIGNOS by Aloy Adlawan
Venue 2 - CCP Little Theatre / Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (06:15 PM) at 24 Jul/Tue
WEN TIMAWA MEETS DELGADO by Rey Gilbraltar Venue 2 - CCP Little Theatre / Tanghalang
Aurelio Tolentino (06:15 PM) at 21 Jul/Sat
Venue 2 - CCP Little Theatre / Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (06:15 PM) at 28 Jul/Sat
The other Cinemalaya movies of the past years would also be shown.
For more information, call CCP Media Arts at 832 1125
locals 1702, 1704 and 1705. For ticket
and box-office inquiries, please call 832 3704 (direct) or 832 1125 local 1409.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Soaked Cellphone

A friend dropped her phone in the toilet bowl. Retrieved it and spent P2,000 reviving it. A Washington Post reporter dropped his Blackberry also in the toilet, retrieved it and let it dry in uncooked rice. Lo and behold, it worked. I think that can work. That is why some restaurants put rice grains in salt shakers. To absorb the moisture. That must be the Post's inspiration. Others said, turn off your phone immediately and take off the battery. Dry everything with a blower or a low heat oven or in your Manila climate. Others recommended soaking everything (except the battery) in alcohol because it will displace the water and take out the impurities. Then it dries faster as well.

The Science of Badingerzi

If your puyo (hair whorl) is counterclockwise (for men), left-handed or ambidextrous, index finger is of same length as ring finger and denser or narrower fingerprint ridges, then YOU ARE IN DENIAL. Or maybe the Science of Gaydar may be potentially discriminatory. Please read.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Know Your Computer Sex

The Philippines ranked ninth in the world in revenues from the pornography industry, according to a group which filters such things in the Internet. The Top Ten Reviews said that in 2006, the Philippines earned about US$1 billion from porn.
It did not say from what form of porn that is profitable in the Philippines but Internet is just a fourth of the chunk. And what a chunk it is.
According to the Top Ten Reviews, which rates computer software, the porn industry worldwide amounted to $97 billion last year. The big three are China, South Korea, Japan and United States which accounts for $86.4 billion in 2006.
China made about $27.4 billion followed by South Korea with $25.73B; Japan with $19.98B and US with $13.33B.
A far fifth is Australia with $2 billion; followed by United Kingdom with $1.97B and Italy with $1.4B. Canada, Philippines and Taiwan raked in $1 billion each, TTR said.
According to TTR, the pornography industry is larger than the revenues of the top technology companies combined: Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix and EarthLink.
Every second, about $3,ooo is spent on pornography whether they are video sales and rentals, cable or in-room pay-per-view, Internet, mobile or phone sex, exotic dance clubs, magazines and tabloids or novelties, the TTR said. It also said that every second, more than 370 Internet users are typing adult search terms in search engines.
As it turned out, Filipinos are not yet Internet-savvy when it comes to surfing the Internet looking for porn last year. Countries like Indonesia, Pakistan and Vietnam have been typing words like "sex," "xxx" and "porn" in search engines, TTR said.
Philippines, despite the many versions of sex scandals, is also nowhere among the major sex video producers. But TTR, which supports internet filter software, said that child pornography figures are alarming. According to it, 100,000 of the 4.2 million sex websites are offering illegal child pornography.
It also said that about 90 percent of solicitations of youth made in chat rooms are sexual in nature and youths who received sexual soliticitations is one in seven.
Last year, the Philippine National Police said that the illegal child pornography industry raked in P1 billion last year, which is fourth in Asia next to Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar.
In the conference last year on child pornography sponsored by the United Nations Children's Fund, the PNP said that ther are about 50 to 70 cybersex dens in the country and majority of their victims are children 12 years old and below.

Pigs and Condoms

How to write about Africa

I saw this in the Africa issue of Granta. It was written by Binyavanga Wainaina but change some of the words and you could be reading "How to write about Cordillera" or any Third World country which you want exotified.

How to write about Africa

some tips: sunsets and starvation are good

Always use the word 'Africa' or 'Darkness' or 'Safari' in your title. Subtitles may include the words 'Zanzibar', 'Masai', 'Zulu', 'Zambezi', 'Congo', 'Nile', 'Big', 'Sky', 'Shadow', 'Drum', 'Sun' or 'Bygone'. Also useful are words such as 'Guerrillas', 'Timeless', 'Primordial' and 'Tribal'. Note that 'People' means Africans who are not black, while 'The People' means black Africans.

Never have a picture of a well-adjusted African on the cover of your book, or in it, unless that African has won the Nobel Prize. An AK-47, prominent ribs, naked breasts: use these. If you must include an African, make sure you get one in Masai or Zulu or Dogon dress.

In your text, treat Africa as if it were one country. It is hot and dusty with rolling grasslands and huge herds of animals and tall, thin people who are starving. Or it is hot and steamy with very short people who eat primates. Don't get bogged down with precise descriptions. Africa is big: fifty-four countries, 900 million people who are too busy starving and dying and warring and emigrating to read your book. The continent is full of deserts, jungles, highlands, savannahs and many other things, but your reader doesn't care about all that, so keep your descriptions romantic and evocative and unparticular.

Make sure you show how Africans have music and rhythm deep in their souls, and eat things no other humans eat. Do not mention rice and beef and wheat; monkey-brain is an African's cuisine of choice, along with goat, snake, worms and grubs and all manner of game meat. Make sure you show that you are able to eat such food without flinching, and describe how you learn to enjoy it—because you care.

Taboo subjects: ordinary domestic scenes, love between Africans (unless a death is involved), references to African writers or intellectuals, mention of school-going children who are not suffering from yaws or Ebola fever or female genital mutilation.

Throughout the book, adopt a sotto voice, in conspiracy with the reader, and a sad I-expected-so-much tone. Establish early on that your liberalism is impeccable, and mention near the beginning how much you love Africa, how you fell in love with the place and can't live without her. Africa is the only continent you can love—take advantage of this. If you are a man, thrust yourself into her warm virgin forests. If you are a woman, treat Africa as a man who wears a bush jacket and disappears off into the sunset. Africa is to be pitied, worshipped or dominated. Whichever angle you take, be sure to leave the strong impression that without your intervention and your important book, Africa is doomed.

Your African characters may include naked warriors, loyal servants, diviners and seers, ancient wise men living in hermitic splendour. Or corrupt politicians, inept polygamous travel-guides, and prostitutes you have slept with. The Loyal Servant always behaves like a seven-year-old and needs a firm hand; he is scared of snakes, good with children, and always involving you in his complex domestic dramas. The Ancient Wise Man always comes from a noble tribe (not the money-grubbing tribes like the Gikuyu, the Igbo or the Shona). He has rheumy eyes and is close to the Earth. The Modern African is a fat man who steals and works in the visa office, refusing to give work permits to qualified Westerners who really care about Africa. He is an enemy of development, always using his government job to make it difficult for pragmatic and good-hearted expats to set up NGOs or Legal Conservation Areas. Or he is an Oxford-educated intellectual turned serial-killing politician in a Savile Row suit. He is a cannibal who likes Cristal champagne, and his mother is a rich witch-doctor who really runs the country.

Among your characters you must always include The Starving African, who wanders the refugee camp nearly naked, and waits for the benevolence of the West. Her children have flies on their eyelids and pot bellies, and her breasts are flat and empty. She must look utterly helpless. She can have no past, no history; such diversions ruin the dramatic moment. Moans are good. She must never say anything about herself in the dialogue except to speak of her (unspeakable) suffering. Also be sure to include a warm and motherly woman who has a rolling laugh and who is concerned for your well-being. Just call her Mama. Her children are all delinquent. These characters should buzz around your main hero, making him look good. Your hero can teach them, bathe them, feed them; he carries lots of babies and has seen Death. Your hero is you (if reportage), or a beautiful, tragic international celebrity/aristocrat who now cares for animals (if fiction).

Bad Western characters may include children of Tory cabinet ministers, Afrikaners, employees of the World Bank. When talking about exploitation by foreigners mention the Chinese and Indian traders. Blame the West for Africa's situation. But do not be too specific.

Broad brushstrokes throughout are good. Avoid having the African characters laugh, or struggle to educate their kids, or just make do in mundane circumstances. Have them illuminate something about Europe or America in Africa. African characters should be colourful, exotic, larger than life—but empty inside, with no dialogue, no conflicts or resolutions in their stories, no depth or quirks to confuse the cause.

Describe, in detail, naked breasts (young, old, conservative, recently raped, big, small) or mutilated genitals, or enhanced genitals. Or any kind of genitals. And dead bodies. Or, better, naked dead bodies. And especially rotting naked dead bodies. Remember, any work you submit in which people look filthy and miserable will be referred to as the 'real Africa', and you want that on your dust jacket. Do not feel queasy about this: you are trying to help them to get aid from the West. The biggest taboo in writing about Africa is to describe or show dead or suffering white people.

Animals, on the other hand, must be treated as well rounded, complex characters. They speak (or grunt while tossing their manes proudly) and have names, ambitions and desires. They also have family values: see how lions teach their children? Elephants are caring, and are good feminists or dignified patriarchs. So are gorillas. Never, ever say anything negative about an elephant or a gorilla. Elephants may attack people's property, destroy their crops, and even kill them. Always take the side of the elephant. Big cats have public-school accents. Hyenas are fair game and have vaguely Middle Eastern accents. Any short Africans who live in the jungle or desert may be portrayed with good humour (unless they are in conflict with an elephant or chimpanzee or gorilla, in which case they are pure evil).

After celebrity activists and aid workers, conservationists are Africa's most important people. Do not offend them. You need them to invite you to their 30,000-acre game ranch or 'conservation area', and this is the only way you will get to interview the celebrity activist. Often a book cover with a heroic-looking conservationist on it works magic for sales. Anybody white, tanned and wearing khaki who once had a pet antelope or a farm is a conservationist, one who is preserving Africa's rich heritage. When interviewing him or her, do not ask how much funding they have; do not ask how much money they make off their game. Never ask how much they pay their employees.

Readers will be put off if you don't mention the light in Africa. And sunsets, the African sunset is a must. It is always big and red. There is always a big sky. Wide empty spaces and game are critical—Africa is the Land of Wide Empty Spaces. When writing about the plight of flora and fauna, make sure you mention that Africa is overpopulated. When your main character is in a desert or jungle living with indigenous peoples (anybody short) it is okay to mention that Africa has been severely depopulated by Aids and War (use caps).

You'll also need a nightclub called Tropicana, where mercenaries, evil nouveau riche Africans and prostitutes and guerrillas and expats hang out.

Always end your book with Nelson Mandela saying something about rainbows or renaissances. Because you care.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Captain Underpants

Ada got this series of Captain Underpants books. Who would have thought that it was a Japanese singer Koji Matsumoto who came out with a music video on C.U?

Typhoon Surfing

Japan and Taiwan have been cashing in on those crazy surfers who seek those huge, huge waves right after the typhoon. Hey, we are now in the typhoon season. Can't the Department of Tourism promote typhoon surfing in Baler, Quezon and San Juan, La Union or even Siargao or Pagudpud?


BBC is being "re-introduced" to the US market as a more objective news network but now wants to "corner" the market immediately with these clever ads:

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