Monthly Archives: December 2014

Prayer to please God rather than men

“I close my eyes, then I drift away, into the magic night I softly say. A silent prayer, like dreamers do, then I fall asleep to dream my dreams of you.” Roy Orbison

By Alex P. Vidal

FATHER, we leave 2014 with great enthusiasm and optimism for 2015.

We desire to please You rather than men.

Forgive us for loving the approval and the praise and glory that come from men (instead of and) more than the glory that comes from You. (We value our credit with You more than credit with men).

We declare that we are free from the fear of men, which brings a snare. We lean on, trust in and put our confidence in You.

We are safe and set on high.


We take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, “The Lord is our Helper, we will not be seized with alarm (we will not fear or dread or be terrified).

What can man do to us?

Father, just as you sent Jesus, You have sent us.

You are ever with us, for we always seek to do what pleases You.

In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

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Posted by on December 31, 2014 in RELIGION


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Money ruined him

“A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart.” Jonathan Swift

By Alex P. Vidal

WE have been reminded that money is not evil per se, or   possession of money is not really evil.

The want to have money for specific reasons and purposes can’t and should not be considered as evil.

It’s the excessive love for money, or its excessive possession for excessive, irrational and wicked purposes that is the root of all evil.

Everybody is seeking for money, but it is the seeking that counts, as money is not always a blessing when it comes.

In a story narrated by Dr. Frank Crane in Everyday Wisdom, there was a man who won $20,000 for suggesting the name “Liberty” to a popular magazine.

“He is now charged by his wife with the abandonment of her and his four children,” narrates Crane.

Crane says the first thing the man did with his prize money, his wife claimed, was to buy a six-cylinder touring car and a quart of liquor.

She also said that he kept paying $5, $10 and $15 tips to taxicab chauffeurs and bootleggers.

“Before he won that prize we were in pretty poor circumstances,” said his wife. “We were in debt, but at least we were happy.”


The question in life is not only who is going to receive the prizes, but what people are going to do with them.

Crane warns that winning a beauty prize may mean moral and spiritual ruin to the successful contestant. Beauty is of no advantage unless used beautifully.

“Many a man has found it harder work to take care of his money when he got it than to get it in the first place,” observes Crane. “If he makes a large amount of money he finds all society arrayed against him. Beggars assail him, tradesmen overcharge him, and the government taxes him. He finds that the possession of money renders him a marked man.”

A man with a large fortune is in one respect like Cain, for every man’s hand is again him, according to Crane.

So there are two sides to success.

It is a question whether success is more valuable as a goal to be attained than it is as a goal which has been attained.

Those on the way up to it get plenty of advice and sympathy from others. Those who have arrived do not receive much sympathy.

“It takes considerable training to be able to take care of money,” counsels Crane. “And often people who are suddenly raised to affluence do not know what to do with their possessions.”


Certainly if receiving a large sum of money induces a man to take up extravagant and bad habits and to desert his wife and children it is a bad thing for him.

The same thing is true with the possession of any talent. A man may be a great violinist, a great pianist, or a great speaker, and his success may ruin him as a man.

It is very difficult for anyone who is extraordinarily endowed in any way, either in money or talent, to keep his faculties in balance.

Crane issues a warning: “The best condition for a man is one of struggle and uncertainty. While he is struggling he is automatically kept normal and in check. That the majority of the human race is not on Easy Street is a good thing for the race.”

If every man were a millionaire the world would speedily go to the devil.

It is the fact that most people need to worry and struggle along with obstacles that keep the world sound and sane.


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Posted by on December 31, 2014 in EDUCATION


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Is superstition a menu in McDo and Jollibee?

“Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.”  Bertrand Russell

By Alex P. Vidal

DO we still believe in superstition in this age of cybernetics and space travel?

There are people nowadays who continue to consider superstition as part of their way of life.

But what really is superstition? Is it a menu in the McDonald’s and Jollibee?

Superstition does not merely apply to religion or bigoted and vicious religious practices that place artificial limits to man’s intellectual pursuits.

Partly influenced by religious dogmatism, some superstitious beliefs originated from ancient folklore passed from one generation to another.

Some of them are: Napoleon’s fear of black cats; Socrates’ evil eye; and Julius Caesar dreaded dreams.

Henry VIII claimed witchcraft trapped him into marrying with former mistress Anne Boleyn, mother of Queen Elizabeth I.

Peter the Great suffered a pathological terror of crossing bridges.

Samuel Johnson entered and exited a building with his right foot foremost.

“Bad-luck superstition still keep many people from walking under a ladder, opening an umbrella indoors, or boarding an airplane on Friday the 13th,” Charles Panati narrates in Extraordinary Origins of Everything Things.

“On the other hand, the same people, hoping for good luck, might cross their fingers or, knock wood.”


Panati thinks that superstition beliefs, given their irrational nature, should have receded with the arrival of education and the advent of science.

Yet even today, he observes, when objective evidence is valued highly, few people, if pressed, would not admit to secretly cherishing one, or two, or many superstitions.

Panati says that across America, tens of thousands of lottery tickets are penciled in every day based on nothing more or less than people’s “lucky” numbers.

“Perhaps this is how it should be, for superstitions are an ancient part of our human heritage,” explains Panati.

According to him, archaeologists identify Neanderthal man, who roamed throughout Western Asia 50,000 years ago, as having produced the first superstitious (and spiritual) belief: survival in an afterlife.

Whereas earlier Homo sapiens abandoned the dead, Neanderthals buried their dead with ritual funerals, interring with their body food, weapons, and fire charcoals to be used in the next life.

Panati says the superstition and the birth of spirituality go hand and hand is not surprising. Throughout history, one person’s superstition was often another’s religion.

The Christian Emperor Constantine called paganism superstition, while the pagan statesman Tacitus called Christianity a pernicious, irrational belief.


Protestants regarded the Catholic veneration of saints and relics as superstitious, while Christians similarly viewed Hindu practices.

“Today there seems to be no logical reason why a wishbone symbolizes good luck while a broken mirror augurs the opposite,” Panati elaborates. “But in earlier times, every superstition had a purposeful origin, a cultural background, and a practical explanation.”

Superstitions arose in a straightforward manner. This was how Panati explained it:

Primitive man, seeking answers for phenomena such as lightning, thunder, eclipses, birth, and death, and lacking knowledge of the laws of nature, developed a belief in unseen spirits.

He observed that animals possessed a sixth sense to danger and imagined that spirits whispered secret warning to them. And the miracle of a tree sprouting from a seed, or a frog from a tadpole, pointed to otherworldly intervention.

His daily existence fraught with hardships, he assumed that the world was more populated with vengeful spirits than with beneficent ones. (Thus the preponderance of superstitious beliefs we inherited involve ways to protect ourselves from evil.)


To protect himself in what seemed like a helter-skelter world, ancient man adopted the foot of a rabbit, the flip of a coin, and a four-leaf clover.

It was an attempt to impose will on chaos.

And when one amulet failed, he tried another, then another.

In this way, thousands of ordinary objects, expressions, and incantations assumed magical significance.

In a sense, we do the same thing today. A student writes a prize-winning paper with a certain pen and that pen becomes “lucky.”

A horse player scores high on a rainy day and weather is then factored into his betting.

We make the ordinary extraordinary.

In fact, there’s scarcely a thing in our environment around which some culture has not woven a superstitious claim: mistletoe, garlic, apples, horseshoes, umbrella, hiccups, stumbling, crossed fingers, rainbows. And that’s barely the beginning.

“Though we now have scientific explanations for many once-mysterious phenomena, daily life still holds enough unpredictability that we turn, especially in times of misfortune, to superstitions to account for the unaccountable, to impose our own wishes on world vicissitudes,” concludes Panati.

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Posted by on December 31, 2014 in EDUCATION, NATURE


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2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,500 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Posted by on December 30, 2014 in YEAR-END REVIEW



We upset the balance of nature

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Albert Einstein

 By Alex P. Vidal

IT was Sir Francis Bacon who exhorted us to obey our nature if we wish to command it.

By obeying, it doesn’t mean we will not enjoy from its wealth.

By commanding, it doesn’t mean we will destroy it.

The laws of nature definitely are in consonance with our existence, thus there is no need to exploit and ravage nature for our whims and caprices.

There is no need to rape the environment for our own irrational selfishness and greed.

The following are some of the ways in which man has upset nature’s balance and reduced our supplies of natural wealth:

  1. Destruction of vast forest areas. Enormous quantities of lumber were taken from our forests for buildings, furniture, fuel, and other useful purposes.

But because of the apparent abundance of forests, lumbering practices were very wasteful. Little heed was given to the replanting of trees to keep our forests producing for the future.

  1. Destruction of wild life. When forests are cut away, the homes of countless animals are destroyed, and these animals die.

The balance of nature has been upset at a vital point, and entire species may vanish as a result.

Added to this is the effect of needless trapping and shooting of animals for sport.

Examples of species made extinct or nearly extinct by man most particularly in America are: American bison (buffalo), antelope, passenger pigeon.


  1. Reckless use of farm lands. Nature’s orderly processes keep soils permanently fertile.

But when man’s sole interest is to extract the maximum crop from his farm each year, regardless of the consequences, the soil soon loses its essential minerals and cannot support plant life at all. The soil, moreover, loosened and laid bare by the planting and harvesting of a single crop, and the wind and the rain easily carry it away.

  1. Overgrazing of pasture lands. Sheep- and cattle-raisers, through lack of planning and foresight, have pastured their animals on the same land year after year.

Here, too, the result has been to lay bare the soil, so that it falls victim to erosion.

  1. Pollution of streams. The dumping of sewage and industrial wastes into streams and rivers makes these waters unhealthy for water life.

The result is the destruction of large numbers of fish, oysters, and other valuable organisms.

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Posted by on December 30, 2014 in EDUCATION, NATURE


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Sex and emotions

“Women are systematically degraded by receiving the trivial attentions which men think it manly to pay to the sex, when, in fact, men are insultingly supporting their own superiority.” Mary Wollstonecraft

By Alex P. Vidal

DO we belong in the Maria Clara times if we still equate sex with emotional attachment?

Has sex nowadays become a commercial commodity that can be experienced even with the absence of a serious relationship commitment?

Some of the sexual revolution ideology stated that it was old-fashioned to want to connect sex with feelings—it meant you weren’t “hip.”

Not only marriage but monogamy and love or even tender feelings were often considered to be something only “neurotic” women wanted.

The idea was that “people should spontaneously have sex and not worry about hurting each other, just behave freely and have sex, no strings, anytime with anybody, just for pure physical pleasure.”

But almost no woman in the study conducted by Shere Hite, an American-born German sex educator, wanted that kind of sexual relationship very often—although a few thought that they should:

“I saw a TV show the other night and this guy said we need to separate sex and love and I think he is right—that is why women get hurt so much because men for some reason seem to be able to do this while we have a great deal of trouble separating them. At least I don’t seem to be able to.”

According to Hite, whose sexological work has focused primarily on female sexuality, “Overwhelmingly, women wanted sex with feeling.”


Here are some of the testimonies of the respondents in Hite’s study published in The Hite Report:

ALMA: “I think the sexual revolution is fantastic. But I have remained ‘faithful’ to my husband and will because I know from past experience that sex with me is totally involved with personal relationship. It’s part of me that I can’t separate from the rest of my body and mind. I could not successfully divide my sexual life among two or more.”

ROSE: “I think the sexual revolution has totally distorted the place of sexuality to the point that it has become an end in itself, an escape, or a desperate attempt to achieve love. Writers like Rollo May (Love and Will) and the women’s movement have helped me to value the integration of love and sex as opposed to casual encounters with partners who do not value me.”

DEBBIE: “Well, I like being able to have a sexual life even though I am not married. But I do not like the casual and ‘cool’ sort of relationship as well as what used to be called ‘romance.’ I like to feel involved with someone.”

RUTH: “I approve of the acceptance of sexual desires and relations. But personally I still believe it is more desirable to have a personally intimate and close relationship, not a casual one.”

REBECCA: “Where I see trouble is in people of my generation, many of my friends.  In their attempts to be freed by the sexual revolution they have undertaken sexual practices they are not psychologically equipped to handle. In joining groups gropes and multiple sexual encounters they seem to mess up their lives…leave their partners and families for all the wrong reasons…become middle-aged hippies, as though we could ever be twenties again.

“They seem confused and definitely not content. This older group has simply forgotten that sex should be a thing that fits in nicely with a lot of other things like a good nourishing one-to-one relationship, work, personal growth, strengthening friendships, going fishing and watching sunsets.

“I get the feeling they’ve thrown out all the commitments, not just the bad ones, and sex has become the mainspring of their every waking moment.

“The sexual revolution has permitted me to share home and life with a man without marrying, and it gave me the right to choose my way of life without having to be a flag-carrying rebel about it, but if I were not to pick and choose within this revolution to suit myself, to avoid damaging myself…then I would not have been freed by the so-called revolution either; they’ve just exchanged one kind of slavery for another.

“Without doubt though, more good than harm has come of it, and my generation will pass out of it in time anyway.”


TIFFANY: “I like sex a lot. But it can only supplement a warm affectionate, mutually respecting, full personhood relationship. It can’t be a relationship. It can’t prove love. It can’t prove anything. I have found sex with people I don’t really like, or who I’m not certain will really like me, or with people I don’t feel I know well, to be very shallow and uncomfortable and physically unsatisfying.

“I don’t believe you have to be ‘in love’ and married ‘till death do us part.’ But mind and body are one organism and all tied up together, and it isn’t even physically fun unless the people involved really like each other.”

JESSICA: “The sexual revolution is great. But as an individual I feel I could not have sex except with someone I loved. And if I felt such love I’d want it permanently (as permanent as anything can be). I am even at 53 a romantic idealist—Damn it!”

JANE: “Because I’m very sensitive and afraid of getting hurt (I’m only 18), I still imbue intercourse with very strong emotional meaning. It upsets me and leaves me unhappy to be with someone who views intercourse casually and feels no meaningful tenderness afterwards.”

PAULA: “My emotions play an enormous part in sex for me—maybe too much for my liking. I sometimes feel that I’m too ‘particular,’ or selective or delicate—I have to be feeling very intensely, or in love, or overwhelmed by sexual feelings in order to enter a deep sexual encounter. Sometimes I worry about whether the man will expect too much from me, sometimes whether I will expect too much from him.

“Sometimes I worry about whether I won’t feel enough, or will be disappointed afterwards. At times I have gone out to have a totally casual encounter just to avoid these complications. Most of my relationships—maybe all—begin with a combination of the physical and emotional. I can’t get turned on to a partner without an emotional or mental factor being present, even if not primary. And sometimes it is primary, and the physical secondary.”

DONNA: “I think the sexual revolution has caused a lot of suffering. People use it to avoid commitment; they refuse to work a relationship, preferring to search for the ‘perfect’ love. They fantasize their way through relationships, always seeking perfection, running scared at the first sign that work is needed to help two people together.

“No one knows where the other person is at, and what attracts one may turn off another. Everyone wants to try everything, but not stick to any one thing, so they change from day to day, and are bewildered by the way they and their friends reverse opinions and trade partners.

“I’m not saying the old way was better, but I’m afraid of what kind of life I can look forward to. I’m not married, but even if I do get married it seems that my marriage has a small chance of surviving. And I don’t see the advantages of this style, frankly.”

ELAINE: “I’m confused as hell about the ‘sexual revolution.’ My husband and I lived and slept together for over a year before we were married—and that was fine. We loved each other and there was some kind of commitment between us. The summer before I was married, my (then) fiancé was away and I slept twice with another man because I was curious. Fine.

“As I mentioned earlier, I lost my virginity to a friend, a bit of a cold way to start out, but I was scared and wanting to get laid, so he helped me out. Fine.

“But extra-marital sex, after a man and a woman have made a big commitment to each other—I can’t buy. I moved out on my husband when he took on a girl friend because I couldn’t stand the pain. A year later, right now, we’re negotiating. We seem to be at a stalemate. I hate to think of myself as behind the times, but I just can’t hack anything but monogamy.”


HELEN: “I still believe the greatest sexual satisfaction comes from having a partner you care about. I’ve gone through stages of having several lovers and thinking I was really liberated. But I’m much more fulfilled now with one caring partner.”

MICHELLE: “I went along with the sexual revolution quite a while until I realized that holding my feelings back was causing me lots of anguish. I was very depressed. I tried opening communications line up—that was part of the problem, but not all of it. Now, in love with my lover and trusting him, I can see how all that damaged me—made my trust mechanisms inhibited by sex.

“For a while I stopped having sex with him because I couldn’t love and fuck him both. These days things are much better. I think that the loyalty is important.”

MARY: “It’s an overreaction and after years and years of the old double standard, of women expected to be pure and virginal for marriage and to always set the limits, society has overturned itself.

“Now women are supposed to be willing, ready, and able to have sex with anyone, anytime, no strings attached and so on. Out of the latter swing of the pendulum have come some good opening ups of certain repressive taboos.

“But women, and men, remain oppressed by these roles. I have found that I can’t detach myself from sex and still enjoy it. I can’t make love with someone I’m not supposed to trust—and feel good about it.

“These attitudes don’t treat me like a whole person either. Too much mind/body separation results in either compulsive screwers or strained virgins!”

BERNADETTE: “I have mixed feelings about the sexual revolution. Hedonism seems the opposite side of the coin of Puritanism.  My daughters tell me that they feel used and abused and refused promiscuity, although they have had sex with young men they cared about. I personally hate the singles scene. It makes me feel like a walking cunt!”

SOPHIA: “I guess I like the idea of intercourse—two people’s bodies joined in an act of love or mutual excitement or whatever, but I’ve become so disillusioned by the whole thing—having met and fucked with a lot of guys who (as I came to realized later) just wanted to get laid and liked the looks of my body but wanted little or nothing to do with me.

“I have come to regard sex as exploitative—having sex is almost like saying ‘here, fuck me, do anything with me that you want, I’m not worth anything anyway.’

“I guess I’m sort of screwed sexually, my ideas about sex are screwed up, and I hope my therapy will help me there. I’ve found I have a lot of guilt feelings and a refusal to enjoy sex, or at least that is what my therapist says.”

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Posted by on December 30, 2014 in EDUCATION, PSYCHOLOGY


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‘It also hurts to be called gaga at bobo’

“An injury is much sooner forgotten than an insult.” Philip Stanhope

By Alex P. Vidal

IF a man occupies the highest position in any organization, he is hailed and praised to high heavens especially by those who have the propensity to ask favors in return for the praises.

If a woman is on top, she is cursed, insulted, ridiculed and underestimated.

To add insult, she is called names.

It’s a male-dominated-world mentality all over again.

The grapevine in the Department of Health (DOH) says acting Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin can’t automatically occupy the post vacated by resigned Secretary Enrique “Ike” Ona.

President Noynoy Aquino is expected to announce the new DOH secretary in January 2015, sources said.

Undersecretary Loreto-Garin, 42, former Iloilo first district House representative, will continue to sit in acting capacity.

Surrounded by high-ranking career employees and subalterns whose loyalty is with Ona and the previous male secretaries, Loreto-Garin initially felt a little bit uneasy especially when President Aquino accepted Ona’s resignation before Christmas Day.

She had revealed earlier that “politics is very dirty” within the department.

“It’s a sad thing. Sa isang taon ko doon, I tried hard to bridge (the gap) with Secretary Ona,” she said in an interview with ABS-CBN’s “The Bottomline with Boy Abunda.”

“I am still trying to absorb the punches and praises. When I was told I would be officer in charge, I thought ‘okay, it would be for a month’… And then one by one issue came out, a lot of problems, a lot of misinformation… There were friendships being challenged,” she said.

“If I’m doing public service, why do I have to experience these punches in my life? Sanay ako sa pulitika, a clean debate. But I was not used to character assassination. Nasasaktan ka rin na tinatawag kang gaga, bobo.”

She did not reveal who made those scurrilous statements.


The former solon had stopped consulting Ona, who was on leave for more than a month due to health reasons.

Ona’s supposed role in the allegedly questionable procurement of vaccines under his leadership worth P800-million is still being investigated by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

It was revealed later on that Ona’s policies and actions did not sit well with Mr. Aquino.

The atmosphere in the DOH is reportedly “patriarchal by nature”, and many senior male underlings find it “uncomfortable” working under “a political appointee with lesser experience.”

Since Dr. Carmencita Reodica, DOH secretary from March 1996  until June 1998, Loreto-Garin is the third female physician to occupy the DOH’s top post but only in acting capacity.

Dr. Esperanza I. Cabral briefly held the DOH portfolio from January until June 2010.

Both Reodica and Cabral came from the private sector did not hold political or elective positions before their DOH stint, while Garin served for three terms as congresswoman.

Reodica had 32 years of experience as a public health worker and government administrator before becoming a DOH boss

Cabral, a renowned cardiologist and top-ranked physician, was a professor at the UP College of Medicine and Pharmacology, scientist and a graduate of Medicine at the University of the Philippines and had served as director of the Philippine Heart Center as well as chief of Cardiology at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center before becoming a DOH chief.


Loreto-Garin started a Iloilo provincial board member and sat as the regional chair of the National Movement for Young Legislators and member of the National Board of the Provincial Board Members League of the Philippines.

She had been elected as the first Filipino board member of the nine-man executive board of the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank (PNoWB) when she became a member of the House of Representatives in 2004.

She had served as House deputy majority leader and figured in the curbing of fraud in the Philhealth, amendment of the Physician’s Act, and the Cheaper Medicines Bill.

Loreto-Garin was among those who advocated the pushed for the passage of the Reproductive Health Care Bill, Improved Midwifery Bill and the Magna Carta for Women.

She may not be the best DOH secretary (acting or permanent), but we beg to disagree with her detractors that she is gaga and bobo.

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Posted by on December 29, 2014 in HEALTH


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