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Category Archives: HEALTH

George didn’t wake us up before he ‘go-go’

“I’m never gonna dance again guilty feet have got no rhythm though it’s easy to pretend I know your not a fool.”WHAM! in “Careless Whisper.”

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW JERSEY — In the past Christmases, George Michael (born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou) “gave us his heart.”
We didn’t give it away.
But last Christmas 2016, the reclusive British pop icon who once pricked his fans to “wake him up before you go-go”, decided to “go-go” for good without waking us up.
He bade farewell on Christmas Day, December 25.
And the world of pop music wasn’t saved from tears.
At 53, the Charismatic composer-singer, who serenaded the world as member of the dynamic duo Wham! with the spine-tingling “Careless Whisper” in 1984, succumbed to heart attack in Goring-on-Thames, United Kingdom, doctors said.
In our high school days, Wham! blossomed into a full-scale phenomenon with their 1983 debut album Fantastic, which charged to the top of the charts.
That’s my first date with Wham! However, when I first saw Wham’s! frame, I thought it was Andrew Ridgeley, George Michael’s best friend and partner, who was the lead vocalist.
At that time, another George–Boy George of the Culture Club–was giving Michael and Wham! a run for their money in Great Britain’s new pop boom.

ALBUM

According to the British newspaper, theguardian, Wham’s! second album, Make It Big (1984), turned them into a global success story, spinning off singles such as Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Careless Whisper, Freedom and Everything She Wants.
In 1985, Wham! achieved a massive publicity coup by becoming the first western pop group to visit the People’s Republic of China. The visit was filmed by the director Lindsay Anderson as Foreign Skies: Wham! In China (1986).
Like in the cases of other pop stars who died at the height of their popularity, George Michael’s death was also shrouded with controversy.
There were reports that several weeks before his death, George, who had open relationships with males, became reclusive and refused to display himself in public “because he did not like his new looks.”
Michael was also reportedly engaged in drug offense and was arrested and fined in 2010 drugs offences after admitting driving under the influence of drugs, having crashed his Range Rover into a Snappy Snaps photo store in Hampstead.

OBITUARY

His obituary stated that “in June 2012 Michael released the single White Light to mark the 30th anniversary of Wham Rap!. In March 2014 he released Symphonica, which became his seventh solo album to top the UK chart. This month, it was announced that he was working on a new album with producer and songwriter Naughty Boy. Also in the pipeline was a film, provisionally titled Freedom: George Michael, due to accompany the reissue of his 1990 album Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1. With Michael as narrator, the film would feature stars including Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Liam Gallagher and Mary J Blige as well as the supermodels who had appeared in his Freedom! ’90 video.”
The obituary added: “His mother, Lesley, died in 1997. He is survived by his father and his two sisters, Melanie and Yioda. George Michael (Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou), singer and songwriter, born 25 June 1963; died 25 December 2016.”

 

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What day did you sneeze?

“Do you know how helpless you feel if you have a full cup of coffee in your hand and you start to sneeze?” — JEAN KERR

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — While standing in a long line at the Bank of America ATM machine in Jackson Heights, Queens on Thursday morning (a Thanksgiving day, November 24, in the United States), I sneezed twice.
An elderly Latina woman in front of me turned her back and sighed, “God bless you.”
“Thank you,” I replied.
“Today is what day, honey?” she snapped back with a smile. “Ah Thursday. Something better will happen to you because you sneezed on Thursday. If it’s Friday, you sneeze for sorrow.”
She continued: If I sneeze on Wednesday, I will receive a letter. On Tuesday, I kiss a stranger. On Monday, I sneeze for danger. On Saturday, I see my lover tomorrow. On Sunday, the devil will have me for the rest of the week. Oh lala.
She was being superstitious. I don’t believe in superstition but I thanked her nevertheless.

PUBLIC

In the bus, train, shopping centers, coffee shops, among other public places, I sneezed in the past and people were apt to say, “God bless you” or the German expression, “Gesundheit,” or the Italian word, “Felicita.”
In the old practice, they would clasp their hands and bow toward the one who sneezed, which is popular in Near and Far East until today.
The custom of asking God’s blessing started when early man believed that the essence of life–the spirit or soul–was in the form of air and breath and resided in one’s head, according to authors Claudia De Lys and Julie Forsyth Bachelor.
A sneeze might accidentally expel the spirit for a short time or even forever, unless God prevented it.
The act of bowing toward the sneezer was also reportedly counter-magic. For it meant, “May your soul not escape.”

SPIRITS

There were some ancients who believed that evil spirits which had previously entered the body jumped out when one sneezed. This meant danger to others for such spirits might now enter their bodies.
So the expression or blessing was to protect others as well as the one who sneezed. So serious was a sneezed considered in the Middle Ages that even today people speak of certain situations as “not to be sneezed at.”
We know today that a sneeze is one of our unconscious reflexes. However, medical men consider it almost as harmful to others as some of the primitive people did, explained Lys and Bachelor.
For, instead of “evil spirits,” sneezing expels harmful bacteria and is one of the most effective ways of spreading disease. So our best counter-charm, say the doctors, is to cover a sneeze with a handkerchief so our germs won’t jump down someone else’s throat.

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2016 in HEALTH, HISTORY, SCIENCE

 

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What’s your taste?

“All of life is a dispute over taste and tasting.” — FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — What is bad taste? How do we differentiate it from good taste? Who determines whether my taste, your taste, their taste is better?
That people differ in their tastes is itself an indisputable fact. It is also true that there is no point in arguing with a man about what he likes or dislikes.
But it is still quite possible to tell a man that he has poor taste and that what he likes is in itself not excellent or beautiful. Here there is plenty of room for argument.
Those who say there is no disputing about tastes usually mean more than they say. In our judgment they are wrong not in what they say but in what they mean. They start from the fact that people differ in taste, in what they like and dislike, and conclude that that is all there is to it.
They conclude, in other words, that in talking about works of art of things of beauty, the only opinions which people can express must take the familiar form of “I don’t know whether it’s beautiful or not, but I know what I like.”

SUBJECTIVE

This conclusion makes beauty entirely subjective or, as the saying goes, entirely a matter of individual taste. People sometimes take the same position about truth and goodness. The truth, they say, is merely what seems true to me. The good is merely what I regard as desirable. They thus reduce truth and goodness to matters of taste about which there can be no argument.
Let us illustrate the mistake they make. If a man says to us, “That object looks red to me,” we would be foolish to argue with him about how it looks. The fact that it looks gray to us has no bearing on how it looks to him.
Nevertheless, we may be able to show him that he is deceived by the reddish glow from a light shining on the object and that, in fact, the object is gray, not red. Even after we have proved this to him by physical tests, the object may still look red to him, but he will be able to recognize the difference between the appearance and the reality.

ILLUSTRATION

This simple illustration shows that while there is no point in arguing about how things look, there is good reason to argue about what things are.
Similarly, if a person insists upon telling us what he likes or dislikes in works of art, he is expressing purely subjective opinions which cannot be disputed. But good critics try to express objective judgments about the excellence or defects of a work itself. They are talking about the object, not about themselves.
Most of us know the difference between good and bad workmanship. If we hire a carpenter to make a table for us and he does a bad job, we point out to him that the table is unsteady or that its legs are too light for the weight of the top. What is true of carpentry is true of all the other arts. Like tables, works of fine art can be well made or poorly made. Well-made things have certain objective qualities which can be recognized by those who know what is involved in good or bad workmanship in the particular field of art.
To recognize excellence in a piece of music, one must have some knowledge of the art of composing music. If a man lacks such knowledge, of course, all he can say is that he likes or dislikes the music. The man who insists that that is all he or anyone else can say is simply confessing his own ignorance about music. He can go expressing his likes and dislikes in music, but he should not, in his ignorance, deny others the right to make objective judgments based on knowledge he does not have.

QUESTION

The question to ask anyone who insists that the beauty in works of art is entirely a matter of personal taste is whether some people have better taste than others. Do some men have good taste and others quite bad taste? Is it possible for a person to improve his taste?
An affirmative answer to these questions amounts to an admission that there are objective standards for making critical judgments about works of art. Having good taste consists in preferring that which is objectively more excellent. Acquiring good taste in some field of art depends on acquiring knowledge about the art and learning to recognize excellence in workmanship.
If there were no objective differences which made works of art more or less beautiful, it would be impossible to say that anyone has good or bad taste or that it is worth making a great effort to improve one’s taste.

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2016 in HEALTH, PSYCHOLOGY

 

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Write like Lydia Pendon but don’t die like a pauper

“Don’t send me flowers when I’m dead. If you like me, send them while I’m alive.”

— Brian Clough

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — If she were a college professor, students of Ms Lydia Pendon would have called her a “terror” or “Miss Tapia” (a tough contrabida teacher in a Tito, Vic & Joey comedy sitcom, “Iskul Bukol”).
If she were a parent, Ms Pendon would be the “stage mother” type: strictly no boyfriend or girlfriend for my son or daughter; no dating; no courtship.
If she were a wife, Ms. Pendon, a tall woman, would not hesitate to wring the neck of a philandering husband or send to the emergency room first a wife beater before he can clobber her.
She was ultraconservative and had no mercy for “mga ikratan” (flirt girls) and would side with the accused in rape cases. She hated political butterflies and admired a lot Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, the last person who gave her employment when income in the newspapers couldn’t anymore sustain her basic needs.

FEARED

Ms. Pendon, who did not teach in school, never had a child, and never married, was one of the most “feared” senior media practitioners in the Philippines. Feared both by her colleagues and corrupt public officials.
Colleagues got ribbed with a mouthful if their jokes could not pass her standard. She once devoted an entire column lashing at a city councilor for calling her “la on” (unmarried old lady) in a Christmas party hosted by Vice Mayor Vic Facultad.
She was also among the most popular. Former Senate President Nene Pimentel and former President Gloria Arroyo called her “Lydia”; former Senator Nikki Coseteng addressed her as “Manang Lydia”, among other national figures during press conferences.
In 1992, when she quit from Panay News to join us in the News Express, Ms. Pendon stirred the hornet’s nest when she convinced business manager Mariano Malones (now mayor of Maasin, Iloilo) to purge the paper with “reds” or “left-leaning writers like Pet and Alex.”
Pet Melliza, now a lawyer, was the editor, and Alex was yours truly, then staff member and sports writer.

SACK

Atty. Melliza forgave Ms. Pendon when she told colleagues about a joke that she once saw him “carrying a sack full of firearms and grenades” after a press conference in Hotel del Rio, but wanted “to teach her a lesson” for calling us “communists”; ergo we had no business staying in the paper.
To make the long story short, she was in, the “communists” were out.
The National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) awarded us with damages. The “communists” were vindicated.
It was not until 2004 when Ms. Pendon and I were reunited again in one newspaper. Daily Informer publisher Bernie Miaque convinced me to take the portfolio as editor-in-chief, to work with my one-time “assassin” Ms. Pendon, who was the paper’s associate editor.
I had no problem working with Ms. Pendon, who was so tenacious and treated her job as her own baby.
It was in the Daily Informer where we strengthened our friendship and camaraderie until 2008 when the paper made its dramatic exit from the public.
Ms. Pendon, who started her career as photographer during the Marcos years, was a good writer. Her prose and style were so simple that even those who have not gone to school could appreciate her articles.
She died a pauper. She never had a car. She never owned a house and lot. When she decided to devote her life in mass media, it’s tantamount to making a vow of poverty.

GLAMOUR

Her life as a journalist was glamorous. Public officials, business leaders, and socialites admired and respected her as a person. Press releases sent to the editorial room carried notes like love letters to “Inday Lyds.”
She was a hero to her family. With her meager income as a newshen and, later on, as casual employee in city hall, Ms. Pendon helped sustain her family financially and otherwise–and probably forgot that she, too, had a life to live.
It was retired city hall public information officer Amante “Boy” Espejo who informed me that Ms. Pendon had collapsed in the city hall comfort room several days before she succumbed to brain aneurysm on Oct. 21, 2016 while confined at the St. Paul’s Hospital in Iloilo City. He also informed me that she was already 70. She should have retired a long time ago.
The younger generation in Iloilo media lost a “mother” in “Mommy Lyds”. We lost a media warrior, a fighter in the arena of public service and journalism. Rest in peace, Inday Lyds. Thank you for the friendship and for being an inspiration to us.

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2016 in HEALTH

 

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Why we die early

“Man seeks to change the foods available in nature to suit his tastes, thereby putting an end to the very essence of life contained in them.” Sai Baba

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — As we age we become conscious of the food that we eat primarily because of health reasons.
According to a dietician, we are the food that we eat.
A young college student once asked why people in ancient times lived longer than people in modern times.
My answer was a quick “probably because of the quality of food that they ate.”
Biblical figures lived up to 800 years.
Today, at 60, many of us are already “bog bog sarado” by different ailments and complications; and are frequent visitors in the doctor’s clinics if not confined in the hospitals.
By 70, some of us are wheelchair-bound.
Those lucky to reach 80 stay in bed until the trip to the kingdom come beckons.

CONTAMINATE

Some foods give us diseases because they are contaminated by chemicals and preservatives.
To be healthy, according to health experts, our body needs fuel-foods, fats and carbohydrates (sugars starches) to provide energy; proteins, such as meat, to build new tissues for growth or to replace those worn out; calcium, in milk, for strong bones and teeth; and various minerals, including salt, that help the body to maintain its chemical balance and to carry on its functions.
We learned that vitamins are not foods, but these “food-factors,” as they are called, are essential.
They help the body to make use of the food we eat, doctors say.
Vitamins already present in food are usually enough for a normal person if his diet is otherwise well-balanced, they add.

WHAT TO EAT

Every day we are advised to eat some foods from each of these groups:
(1) milk or milk products, including cheese—at least a pint of milk for an adult and more for a child;
(2) citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit), tomatoes, or raw cabbage or salad greens—at least one;
(3) green or yellow vegetables, some raw, some cooked—at least one big serving;
(4) other vegetables or fruits, including potatoes;
(5) bread and cereals;
(6) meat, poultry or fish;
(7) eggs—three or four a week at least;
(8) butter or another vitamin-rich spread.
We will all die anyway, so it’s better to make an exit with grace.

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2015 in HEALTH, HISTORY

 

We reduce supplies of our natural wealth

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

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — 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.
2. 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.

FARM

3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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, 2015 in HEALTH, HISTORY

 

Castañeda a good choice for city LEEO portfolio

“Not everyone can be trusted. I think we all have to be very selective about the people we trust.” Shelley Long

By Alex P. Vidal

IT’S the trust and confidence that matters most.

Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog made the right decision to appoint Ariel Castañeda as the new chief of the Local Economic Enterprise Office (LEEO).

The apprehensions registered by key leaders of market vendors associations in the metropolis about Castañeda’s “lack of experience” to handle the job are but natural, but experience alone is not the end-all and be-all qualifications to manage and rebuild the anomaly-ridden LEEO.

Castañeda, Mabilog’s hitherto political affairs consultant, is a reformist who carries with him the competence, dynamism and idealism of a leader necessary to streamline and iron out the kinks in the LEEO.

In choosing Castañeda, Mabilog was not entertaining a quick fix solution to the mess left behind by the office’s previous boss, Vicente de la Cruz.

Mabilog wanted to infuse integrity back in the LEEO and revive the people’s faith in the office marred previously by accusations of irregularities and mismanagement.

With Castañeda’s solid background in leadership and good credibility, Mabilog is confident the LEEO will once again experience a renaissance under a new manager.

Marker vendors associations will easily get along with the unassuming Castañeda as he is one of the most accessible and easy-to-approach members of the Mabilog cabinet.

-o0o-

THE church’s silence on the proposed legalization of the Small Town Lottery (STL) in Iloilo province is deafening.

They have not made a stand or issued a statement since Governor Arthur “Art” Defensor Sr. announced last month that he was in favor of the move of the provincial board which had passed a resolution pushing for legalization of the numbers game.

With Defensor’s full approval, it’s only a matter of time before the resolution authored by Board Member Manny Gallar will bear fruits in favor of the STL.

Three operators have been queuing for the franchise to be issued by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

They are: Around D’ World Gaming Corp., Fairpoint Marketing Corp. and Iloilo Small Town Lottery Gaming Corp.

The grapevine says the PSCO will soon approve the franchise to any of the three.

Like a thief in the night, STL will invade the Iloilo province without any resistance.

The church has been actively spearheading the clamor to halt any attempt from the local government unit (LGU) to legalize any form of gambling in the past.

Priests even used the pulpit to chide those who pushed for legalization of gambling.

Why they are silent on this issue is what boggles the minds of the Ilonggos.

-o0o-

THE image of Boracay Island will suffer in the global tourism industry if reports were true that the level of coliform bacteria in the beach increased 47,460 most probable number (mpn) per 100 ml and, therefore, “not safe” for swimming.

Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) regional director Jonathan Bulos had clarified that the water sample containing the high level of coliform bacteria was taken from the mouth of Bulabog Beach where there was a drainage system.

For a body of water to be considered safe for swimming, its coliform bacteria level must not exceed 1,000 mpn/ml, according to the EMB, an attached agency of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The presence in the Boracay waters of coliform bacteria, found mainly in human and animal waste, soil and vegetation, have been reported many years back but the DENR assured beach goers the situation was not alarming.

-o0o-

FORMER North Cotabato Gov. Manny Pinol, a part time boxing manager and sportswriter, told me recently that he was not sure if he would go to Las Vegas to watch the Manny Pacquiao versus Floyd Mayweather Jr. duel on May 2.

“Ka mahal sang ticket. Makahuluya man kay Manny (Pacquiao). Kon tag P200,000 per ticket e times mo ina sa 50 ka tawo nga mangayu libre mga P10 million na ina. (The ticket is so expensive. If Manny gives each of only 50 persons free tickets it’s already P10 million),” Pinol said.

I told Pinol that Pacquiao spent some P20 million for the tickets he bought from the Top Rank for distribution to fellow congressmen, showbiz characters, friends, hangers-on, and members of the Boston Celtics when Pacquiao fought Ricky Hatton on May 2, 2009.

“Against Mayweather, even if Pacquiao will spend an equivalent of P50 million for the freebie tickets, he won’t mind it,” I told Pinol.

Bisan pa. Kahuluya. Kuarta man ina gihapon. Ang iban ‘ya wala lang naga paminsar. (It’s still money. Those who ask for free tickets should think about it and have some shame.),” he replied.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2015 in HEALTH, POLITICS

 

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