Upside down

Manila, worst traffic on earth

by Wilfredo G. Villanueva

“Mommy, thank you,” Pedro said.

Paz acknowledged the gratitude, glancing at Pedro while sipping from a ladle. He was wearing a tie on an immaculate white shirt, his sleeves rolled up to eat the breakfast that Paz had prepared. Picture of an executive.

It was a big breakfast the del Rosario way. Poached eggs, fried rice, sardines, adobo leftover from last night, mangoes, steaming cups of tablea chocolate and suman. Pedro loosened his leather belt a notch.

“So when you get to the office, could you ask your secretary to mail my birthday cards for Quinito?” Paz said.

“Okay,” Pedro said as eggs, rice, hot chocolate drink with slices of mango disappeared into his gullet. “This is breakfast heaven,” he said as he always does. It’s breakfast in heaven, or lunch in heaven, or dinner in heaven. Pedro is that kind of a man, ever appreciative of Paz his wife of 35 years.

“Eat na, Mommy.”

“Yes, in a while.”

And so it goes in the del Rosario family. All the meals are made in heaven, in Paz’s kitchen which sometimes smelled of fried garlic or onions, tocino, kare-kare, sinigang na baboy. But Paz always smelled of something gentle and inviting.

“Have to run this off,” Pedro said, touching his growing paunch. He used to run three or four times a week but with the onset of ageing, Dr. Cruz his cardiologist had advised him to slow down. Hence the belly.

“The athleticism, not too much anymore, but the appetite remained,” he would tell his friends who noticed that gone is his flat belly.

They have an only child, Quinito, who lives in Melbourne. He has a cushy job there doing computer programs for the water utility. He had married Sofia, a Filipina, whom he met in the Australian city.

“Life is good, Mommy,” Pedro said as he always does. They had no more tuition worries, Quinito is self-sufficient, and all they have now is each other, in an empty nest. Second honeymoon. Heaven on earth.

Pedro took his briefcase, in which Paz had placed sliced mangoes in a plastic container for his dessert.

“I love you. Your meds,” Pedro said to Paz as he walked to the front door to confront the world on a Monday morning.

Outside it was a sweltering day in April, height of the dry season. His shirt immediately turned to mush, beads of perspiration running down his throat to his chest, down to the belt area.

“Hey, get out of the way,” a honking horn seemed to say as he joined the traffic in his pitiable little car which was in need of a tuneup, maybe a new engine, for it sputters and makes strange noises in the expressway. Add to that the horns and tailwinds of other cars flashier and in better condition than his as they zip by. He hopes he could afford a new car, but with his meager pay, how is that possible?

In the office, he got chewed off by his boss for coming in late as usual. Sometimes, he feels like jumping out of the window of their offices on the 37th floor of the Philbanking building on Ayala Avenue for the way he’s treated. A king in his home, a piece of rag at work.

“Hey, did you read this?” Andrew said, showing his smartphone for everyone to see. “Two hundred eighty feet!”

“Two hundred eighty what?” the other people within earshot said almost in unison.

“Two hundred eighty feet,” Andrew said, “that’s how high the sea level will rise when finally the climate changes.”

Silence. Five minutes.

“And what is Trump doing,” Andrew continued, “America is no longer the leader of the free world.”

“Exactly like our own president,” Edgar piped in, “embarrassing our country and making outrageous comments that turn the world upside down.

“Upside down like the presidential seal,” the others said.

Upside down. Pedro’s mind kept turning the phrase in his mind. Upside down. What’s to become of the world when sea levels will cover entire buildings up to the 30th floor? What about Quinito and his wife and kids? What’s to become of the world when China replaces America as leader? Scenarios that left Pedro almost blind in panic as he chased ghosts in his frying brain.

Back at home, at ten in the evening, after a three-hour travel time in his tiny coughing car, Paz welcomed him with open arms, a hug, a kiss that rewired his brain. That smell.

“What’s for dinner for the king?” Pedro said.

Both sat down to eat, untroubled as if the day outside never happened.


132 Responses to “Upside down”
  1. arlene says:

    A daily life happening Wil. sometimes when we feel so secure at home, we forget the problems of the world. What a nice story.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Hmm. The danger in having a good life, a good wife, good meals, is when you go out you join the 82 per cent for PDut as part of your penance. Thanks, Arlene!

  2. alicia m. kruger says:

    Some people wrap themselves around a security blanket at home only to be hit with the biggest problem in and around them because of the feeling of complacency.

  3. Bill In Oz says:

    Hey Wil, you wrote “He used to run three or four times a week but with the onset of ageing, Dr. Cruz his cardiologist had advised him to slow down. Hence the belly. ”

    This is absolutely wrong. If my cardiologist gave me that advice I would sack him immediately as an ignoramus. Getting fat and especially belly fat ages all of us faster. So don’t do it.

    Here is a post about slowing down aging :

    PD’s whole blog has lots of really good advice for us older blokes.

    • Bill In Oz says:

      PS, 280 feet is not what’s predicted. That’s a bit excessive. .The last time I spent time checking this out, 6 meters was what is predicted with climate change over the next 200 years.

      • Here’s some better advice , Bill :

        • Bill In Oz says:

          Ahhh Lance. you joke .. And the humor is good….Probably written by some nerd in his twenties !
          But I was being serious…Lazing around brings on aging with a vengence & so is important to older folks…

          For a long happy healthy and fit life, stay active folks ! And this morning I learned that even sex is good for the brain and delays dementia. 🙂

          When I was young the Church told us ‘we’d go blind from lots of sex’. I guess they got that wrong as well.

          • NHerrera says:

            Bill, it is reasonable to deduce then that you have 20/20 vision. 🙂

            • Bill In Oz says:

              I had a lase op in 2000 H’Hererra..One eye is a little wobbly but the other still 20/20. My hindsight is even better !!

              • Bill, you’re already living the best advice you can give! Marry young!

                I remember those American vets (mostly Vietnam era) living in the Philippines, those guys looked like they were in the early 30s! Like they found the fountain of youth.

                There was this other vet I met over here, post Vietnam, but he was in all the 80s and 90s fun , 1st Gulf war, the Balkans, I believe he was in Granada too (that far back) , body’s mangled from all the training, 100% disability from the VA (so he’s getting like 6,000K a month i think), his plan was to live out the rest of his day in Acapulco (wife died)—- so me worried because of all the narco stuff in Mexico, suggested Philippines.

                But this guy since he couldn’t run anymore do regular exercises, he mostly did his exercising in the pool , Bill. But yeah you’re right being active is healthy.

                Though there are doctors in Wil’s story, mostly older doctors, many in the VA system who’ll advise taking it easy—- but they’re dealing with overly active seniors, like that post-Vietnam vet i’m talking about. The consolation i guess is that these guys don’t listen to advice like that, LOL!

                As for sex, it’s both aerobic and anaerobic, ie. aerobic is where you’re doing all the work (huffing and puffing); anaerobic is when the girl’s doing all the work (aerobic for her), this you’ll have to get kinky, the kinkier stuff gets the more the anaerobic process works for you (instead of just passive laying down), its all about pushing the envelope, stretching comfort zones, which I read also is great for Alzheimer’s/dementia prevention.

              • Bill In Oz says:

                @Lance “Bill, you’re already living the best advice you can give! Marry young!”

                Well my lady is younger than me. But no that young…Her twenties and thirties are long gone..

                As for marrying, I suspect it’s more important to be with someone who I care about and who cares for me. Now that is definitely good. As Wil’s story shows.

              • Good for you, Bill. And I agree with good clean living of course, but to add to the anaerobic part of sex, if you so choose, Google … edging and tantric sex (both related, the first is the initial step to this world, but it’s so much bigger than that, hence the tantric stuff, that’s your advance studies). But my point is whatever you can do to up you anaerobic during sex, do it now, as you grow old the aerobic benefits of sex will become less (ie. hip problems, heart issues, etc.)

      • This article places it at 230 feet if the West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapsed and melted and Greenland’s ice thawed.

        Don’t worry too much because it will probably not happen during our lifetime but do your share in helping Mother Earth for the sake of our descendants.

        “Predictions for the year 2100 are in the range of two to three feet, excluding any potential contributions from ice sheet collapse.”

        • Edgar Lores says:

          Translated to meters, 230 feet is 70.1 meters.

          o Manila is 16 m above sea level.
          o Makati is 15 m
          o Quezon City is 17 m
          o Cebu City is 17 m
          o Brisbane is 28.4 m

          The other figure mentioned in the link is 46 feet. This is equivalent to 14.02 meters.

          What will happen then? And what will happen to Erap’s reclamation project, the Pearl of the Orient thingy? And the Mega Manila Subway?

          It’s not only that things are upside down but under water as well.

          “Après nous, le déluge”

          • popoy says:

            IN college (that’s more than half a century ago) I read about the pole shift (when remains of elephants where dug out in the North pole?) and the Jupiter Effect (Central Luzon used to be like Manila Bay. Did not THEN hear yet about global warming and the ozone layer. Am still waiting. Did Nostradamus say anything about this eche bucheche of the wise?

            • edgar lores says:

              I read about polar shifts as well (Velikovsky’s “Worlds in Collision”) but not about the Jupiter Effect. The latter, which is about planetary alignments, was supposed to cause a great earthquake in 1982 along the San Andreas Fault. Well, the Jupiter Effect had no effect as California is still intact.

              As to Nostradamus, Google lists many links connecting his prophecies with global warming, in particular, the possibilities of “hot” wars. I give little credence to this as Nostradamus wrote in verse and partly in code that give way to multiple interpretations.

              Of the three possibilities, the first one seems to be the most likely as it has happened before. Edgar Cayce predicted one will happen in the near future.

              I have Harmon Hartzell Bro’s “A Seer out of Season” in front of me, and I quote: “Parts of Southern California would slide into the sea within three months after eruptions at Mount Etna followed by comparable activity at Pelee in the Western Hemisphere. Land would come up from the ocean off the eastern coast of the U.S. with artifacts from lost Atlantis. Much later Manhattan would suffer devastating earthquakes, and the Japanese islands would be largely wiped out by earthquakes. Through comparable activity in the Midwest, the Great Lakes would empty into the Mississippi. But with these predictions. the readings constantly offered the assurance that human righteousness and prayer would affect the course of geology.”

              • popoy says:

                There you go. I mean THERE I GO still learning more in old age. Thanks Edgar.
                Oh If I may, there are so many, so numerous Saints protecting California. Even the dangerous fault Andreas is Saint Andreas. The state capital is a Sacrament. Casinos may be even a Saint like San Manuel. When the Wall is built northwest of Mexico, it will be a saint, San Diego on the other side. Come to think of it does California have more Saints than relic Catholic Mexico? Is California third largest economy in the world the model, an example of a successful aberrant Catholisismo?

                Brandon, a son-in-law even laughingly said Arizona will be happy for a pole shift, to have California as part of its beaches.

          • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

            Hi Juana and Edgar. I explained where I got the 280 feet. Kindly scroll down. Thanks!

        • Bill In Oz says:

          Juana, The West Antarctic Ice shelf is the least likely to melt. It a thousand meters or so on bed rock well above sea level.So it’s seen a stable into the indefiniite future.

          But a 2 feet rise would be bad for Manila.. That’s the average. But what with storm & tidal surges the real height will be more…Maybe the Philippines needs to send teams tom the Netherlands and learn how to build dykes. They definitely have the expertise ! But as for a subway…Ummmm ? A bit chancy I think..The elevated way is the way to go.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Thanks, Bill. I’ll go tell Pedro that.

    • karlgarcia says:

      As Grammy pointed out, walking is good.

  4. grammy2342 says:

    nice piece of vignette…instead of running, which is bad for the knees, shift to walking – which, by the way, is the best exercise. And unsolicited advice, Pedro should watch his diet and limit his intake of adobo and other meat dishes and fried rice. Poached eggs are good. Change fried rice to brown rice or quinoa salad; steamed veggies and fish.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Thanks, Grammy. Makararating kay Pedro ang advice mo.

    • Bill In Oz says:

      I suggest a low carb diet will be better Will..Lot’s of protein ( fish, shrimp, fried eggs, even meat ! Plus saturated fat with lots of vegies..( Sinigang & Adobo !! ).
      There was a medical story that Sat Fat blocked the arteries but that’s be shown to be medical myth making. Almost as wrong as the earth is flat. Only the extremist vegans are denying it now.

      A high carb diet will provoke diabetes as we age..Especially in folks with European genes. But even Asians eating rice are now getting Diabetes and CVD as the diet includes lots of processed carbohydrate foods like Pringles, chips, biscuits, sweet breads, cakes etc..

      I learned this the hard way. I was 10 kg overweight when I got home. Too much eating rich delicious Filipino foods and no working out…I’ve lost almost all of it now. But it’s taken a big effort and fasting a day every week as well

      BTW Wil, : I don’t run any more either or run on a the tread mill like my lady loves to do here in Oz. I climb on a “Cross Trainer” machine” . They are popular with skiers as they don’t damage the knees ! And I don’t need that either.

      • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

        Hi Bill! Thanks for sharing dieting tips. I’m safe with my no-fat, 90 per cent fish-chicken-fruits-veggies diet. I’m the only Filipino I know who doesn’t eat lechon, chicken skin, fat in adobo, bone marrow in bulalo. In buffets, it’s mostly salmon and salads and fruits for me. My regular blood tests, cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL, LDL, blood sugar, PSA are a sight to behold, this according to my cardiologist. I’m also jogging regularly, 30-40 minutes 2-3 times a week. Pedro isn’t me. He’s a confluence of all things that could happen to a person in his late 60s: retreating to his cocoon, fitness decreasing, legacy doubts, mortality fears. I tried to write with the agony of Van Gogh, focusing on life and death issues. He’s Joe Average. As per foregoing, I’m not he.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Thanks, grammy2342 for the concern. The advice I would like to hear is how to write fiction without making it sound autobiographical.

  5. “Upside down. Pedro’s mind kept turning the phrase in his mind. Upside down. What’s to become of the world when sea levels will cover entire buildings up to the 30th floor? What about Quinito and his wife and kids? What’s to become of the world when China replaces America as leader? Scenarios that left Pedro almost blind in panic as he chased ghosts in his frying brain.”

    Great read, Wil, I love the normalcy surrounding that bit of horror right there.

    Could be blue collar America here too, Trump just warned Mueller not to delve into his business dealings with Russia (or he’ll get the boot). How’s that for Upside Down? 😉

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Thanks, Lance. Which way is north again?

      • popoy says:

        which north, the true north or the magnetic north, reminds me of map reading!

        • popoy, that’s exactly what came to mind for me too.

          Wil, I know of three different ways to find north— with a bit of cute analogizing to fit your article ,

          1). popoy’s true north/magnetic north, is a military mainstay, wherein you need a map and a compass. It requires some learning, either self-taught or taught to you (ie. the military, boy scouts, orienteering club, etc.). Analogous to personal moral compass, something your parents, or experience taught you.

          2). another way they teach in the military, the Navy more so than other branches (though special select folks also get training in) is celestial navigation, whether simply guesstimating or actually working with sextants, etc. you’re looking up in the sky to ascertain north.

          So where map/compass, you’re looking down (at self), celestial nav you’re looking up (at others). Analogous to relying on academics, spiritual gurus, charismatic personalities, etc. to ascertain north. Determining where shadows fall during the day would be celestial navigation too.

          3). but the way that most mountain men, and i guess hunter/gathers, non-technological people, find north is by relying on flora/fauna (fauna i’m less familiar with) , but you look at a tree or plant and you see with direction it’s growing, ie. trees, moss, etc. and the more plants you look at the more better an idea you get of north. As for fauna, most animals are atuned to the earth’s magnetic field, they’ve found organs specifically for this in birds, whether we have it too is still up in the air.

          This is analogous to more crowd sourced determination of north, ie. intelligence of crowds, nature.

          There’s a fourth, but it’s less about finding north, than it is about knowing where exactly you stand, and that’s GPS , which is similar to celestial, but here the satellites are actually telling you where you are, so analogous to our A.I. talk,

          ie. are machines eventually gonna tell us not only where north is (right from wrong), but what north should be? (morally speaking). A brave new world, indeed!

  6. Bing Garcia says:

    The New Virtual Caliphate And Its Implications: What Will Happen After Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s Death?

    • Bill In Oz says:

      There is a contradiction in the Huff.. How can foreigners blend in with the locals and keep fighting ? And then return home to fight the bad fight again…

      As for a virtual Caliphate ? I suspect it will be hacked, taken down, trojaned, virused and blackout.. All the major powers are united on this : China, the USA, The UK, USA Russia, even Iran…May be France is the exception as the French are always sailing the other way in international politics..But that’s a big critical mass of cyber power & nerds…

      The virtual caliphate ain’t gonna fly long..It’s an act of desperation as they get wopped in Iraq & Syria..

  7. Edgar Lores says:

    Edgar is right.

    • josephivo says:

      Edgar and right a tautology?

      • Edgar Lores says:

        Sometimes, tautologies have to be repeated. 🙂

        • popoy says:

          Has anyone seen a dog circling circling trying to bite its tail, trying to repeat a repetition? Can’t be done eh?

          They were putting bets; two old men: one blind with a fake eye, the other guy with false teeth. Now which (who?) of the old guys won if the bet is who can bite or swallow one of his eyes? I got false teeth. Did I win? Heard that before I am sure!

          • popoy says:

            The winner is a third old man who just appeared in the picture who through raised hands showed his teeth can bite his eye. Corny eh? Speaking of pictures . . . .

            • popoy says:

              Speaking of pictures, of digesting the photo here to think not of a thousand words but for less than a hundred words using not Photoshop but mere imagination. Why is it that when there is heavy traffic in Ontario’s highways or California Freeways or New Jersey Turnpike, you see rigs, trailers, big trucks carrying goods and products.

              God! you even see 6 to 10 cars riding like passengers sitting in tandem aboard long trucks. Yeah, you see also cars with just a guy or a chick as its lone passenger and driver, Eh?

              In the early 80s, a foreigner , a Brahmin participant attending a UN Regional Course in Manila asked me: “Why are so many people traveling to every direction any time of the day? The buses and jeepneys are always full? Where are they going ? Why? To embellish this yarn I showed him my palm and ask him: Can you read the answer in my palm? I learned from him that where he came from every Brahmin is trained early to be palm reader.

              The point este the question: What makes the difference among countries which move products and raw materials and machineries around more than people at all hours of the day? Because people are in factories or offices or on roads fixing the roads? Because there is less thievery in politics and businesses? Forget the now you see it now you don’t MANILA TRUCK BAN. The photo in this article hides the truth of a hundred words of gridlock science.

  8. NHerrera says:

    It seems more like the immediate or current local and world situation is a case of DOWNSIDE UP rather than UPSIDE DOWN. Is this a tautology? Is there a difference in nuance?

    • edgar lores says:

      Hmm. Same thing?

      Politically and geographically:

      o America is upside and is going down. China is downside and is going up.
      o Luzon is upside and is going down. Mindanao is downside and is going up. (Not quite yet.)
      o The downside guys — Trump, Duterte, Aguirre, Panelo — are up. The upside guys — PNoy, Leila, and Mar — are down.

      But not sure what this is a case of:

      o The poor are downside and going further down. The rich are upside and going further up.

      • NHerrera says:

        Thanks, for the note, edgar.

        How is this for another case of a DOWNSIDE UP situation: the unprecedented joint China-Russia naval exercise in the Baltic Sea, close to the NATO allies whose solidarity most probably is at its low now — after Trump, while I believe realistic and fair to the US, told its allies to pay up for their appropriate share of NATO’s upkeep but in so undiplomatic public-lecturing way.

        It is a 3-Player geopolitical game now with China too happy to showcase its hardware and growing rather exponentially; and Russia very much in the game with the cunning and experienced Putin at the helm.

  9. Bill In Oz says:

    Hi Wif, you wrote “They have an only child, Quinito, who lives in Melbourne. He has a cushy job there doing computer programs for the water utility.” It’s odd Wil, there used to be a single water, sewerage and drainage body called The Melbourne & Metropolitan Board of Works” It used to a public corporation with representatives from all the city’s councils on it.. Not for profit and very effective.

    But we got infected by the USA privatisation virus back in the 1990’s – courtesy of some very bloody ignorant and stupid academics (They should have been deported back to the USA quickly ) And as a result ‘conservative’ unleashed a wave of radical change privatising anything owned by the Australian people..So in Melbourne now here are I think 3 water companies and maybe power companies.. All owned by foreigners !! All in services which are natural monopolies..

    And now that the costs of water, drainage, power have sky rocketed, there is huge anger at this massive change. Governments that pushed these changes are running scared of the blow back..We may even take them back again from private companies control. That’s my hope.

    But as yet we do not call them ‘utilities’. That’s ‘yankee’ speech just like the privatisation economic dogma.’

    • Bill,

      That is true, that was some 1990s virus, that came along side NAFTA. privatize and globalize.

      I think for California, they do a pretty good job (relatively speaking) overlooking private utilities companies ensuring no price gouging. But for other states, susceptible to the powers of these big companies, the gov’t cowers and the interest of the people get sacrificed.

      For example 3 of our sunniest states, Nevada, Arizona, and Florida hardly have solar panels (since these companies lobby against them), but California almost every house you see now has solar, New York and Washington are following close by, and supposedly photovoltaic technology works best in milder temps, which evens out the fact that they’re further out north.

      Also at least for the drought prone regions, many more homes are installing rain catchment systems, ie. converting pools, setting up tanks, and pipings, etc. lowering water consumption from utilities.

      So i guess that’s how you fight them, Bill, go around them. Use them less.

      • Bill In Oz says:

        Ahhh yes that’s the ‘individualistic’ American response lance. And that is what got us here where we are.
        I wonder what renters do Lance for power..No point putting solar on the roof for them. Land lord get the asset.
        I wonder what retirees on fixed and limited pensions can do. Bugger all as they cannot afford your solutions.
        I wonder what your ‘trailer folk’ do lance. ( God there are so many trailer folk in the USA. And in places where it freezes 2 feet deep in Winter !) They are in Trailers because they cannot afford a regular house. So a ‘house’ in a trailer park on blocks is it

        Traditionally Australia was far more collectivist in character…ll the ‘utilies’ as you call them, were owned by the public through the state, federal or local governments….It’s akin to the ‘Mateship’ which is still part of our character.

        So the huge changes by foreign trained and indoctrinated ideologues in the 1990’s 2000’s was a huge fucking change for the worse..

        And having now emerged as a huge expensive fuck up brought on by a foreign dogma & ideology, that gave ownership & control and exorbitant monopoly profits to foreigners.

        I think we are going to reject it big time. And that is reflected in voting patterns away from the 2 major parties..That is why our Federal & state governments of both major parties are worried/ dead scared.. ( For example a primary vote of 26% for the current state Labor government here in South Australia )

        Compulsory preferential voting is going to deliver them such a big kick in the bum they will feel it for long while… And in the upper houses ( Australian Senate &State Legislative Councils ) compulsory proportional voting will ensure that extremist dogmatists can never again have the numbers to do it again..

        Not relevant to the Philippines .. But an example of what is possible anywhere.

        • How will you re-nationalize your utilities, Bill (oh yeah, if not utilities, what do you call them?)? Are people divesting, ie. using solar, rain catchment, wind, etc. over there already? I doubt you’d be able to do much without the divesting approach. You can complain about pricing, but if you can’t live w/out it, you’ll be hard press to do much IMHO, divesting is the protest that gets companies to do your will, ie. boycott, etc.

          As to your queries,

          I’d imagine those living in trailer homes outside cities would be easier to go solar, and other energy— but city trailer parks no, but city trailer parks these days in cities are fast getting bought up by apartment/condo developers,

          and that’s where the whole subsidies and zoning/urban planning for each cities/counties play in , ie. they mandate each new apartment building have solar, or those old apartments they get state subsidies/rebates for installing solar.

          As for the old folks, I don’t think in California the utilities ever spiked up, again because the state/ local gov’t did a pretty good job staving off such fleecings (kept a good eye on ’em), where they would enjoy more savings is in the fact that California compared to other states have more electricity generated by solar and wind now,

          so to recap,

          1). trailers also get solar

          2). apartments have solar

          3). solar makes electricity cheaper

          But this push for solar was due to demand, I mean yeah the subsidies/rebates, mandates/zoning, helped push it here in CA, but the people themselves are divesting from other types of electricity, ie. we only have 1 nuke generator in California, and that’ll be out of commission soon, since more people are living near it (not in my backyard). But i can’t imagine anything done without any proactive (like divesting) response from people , Bill.

        • Bill In Oz says:

          Divest ? Of water ? Of Sewerage & drainage ? Of gas supply ? And of electricity supply ?

          These are all necessities and essential services in all modern cities. Lance.

          Here tenants in flats & houses pay the power bills. And landlord have no incentive to put solar panels on the roofs. From memory it was the poorer folks who wound up in Trailer parks or with a trailer on a block well outside the city limits. I doubt many will buy solar panels either.
          And by the way, here in South Australia 40% of power is from sustainable sources : wind & solar. But there have been major problems with maintaining the frequency synchronicity of these power sources. It needs balancing out with stable power from coal, gas or nuclear generated power plants…

          I wonder if this will be possible when the nuclear plant shuts down. there in Ca. This problem emerged here when the last coal fired one was shut down last year. SA had to draw power from interstate -1100 ks way and coal fired or from very a expensive gas fired plant.

          Exactly what will be done depends on local circumstances. But I imagine that further privatisations will Not happen. Yes by pure fluke a few have not yet been sold off even though the US trained and indoctrinated ‘idiocrats’ & ‘dogmacrats’ have been trying their hardest.
          Probably ‘buy backs’ will be part of the mix.

          It’s a very diferent topic but with the death of Communism in the Soviet Union and China etc. really the only operative dogma now is US exported type, capitalism….

          • Bill,

            I’m using divest here similar to diversify, although with the same intention of denying corporations/gov’t power over you. Yeah, you’re right water is a must, but if you start a water catchment system, cut off water going to your lawn, especially grass (which is useless), then you’d effectively cut your water in-take (depending on how good your system is) by a lot, doing away with grass, saves you near 50% of your water bill.

            I read somewhere that because of our 5 year drought, and public info ads to save water, that a few cities sewage system actually failed to work, since there wasn’t enough water flushing down the stuff. You don’t want to encourage people to use more water again, you fix the design of the sewage system to be able to operate with less water.

            Gas, i know have increased here due to fracking, ie. natural gas is all the rage now, and cheaper, but electric can pretty much do what gas does, with less chances of leakage. As for electricity, from our now 1 nuke generator, i read somewhere they only service pretty much the central coast of CA (a very small amount), it’s hard to figure where the electricity goes, because electricity is not like water, you can keep on transforming and pushing it out, but as far as its use its minimal hence it’ll eventually be closed, CA isn’t relying on that 1 nuke generator.

            i’ll look for more numbers on this both nuke and solar/wind, but i remember solar/wind in California i read somewhere is producing so much that we’re now exporting solar/wind generated electricity to other states, namely NV and AZ next door since they’ve been tricked to not going solar/wind. So it’s a 1-2 punch, people are conserving more, using less, and using solar/wind. That’s basically what divest is, Bill.

            Also, they do a pretty good job over-looking private utilities companies here, California Public Utilities Commission , also i know i dig at the media here a lot but they actually do a pretty good job also keeping an eye on them, which makes sense they’re using these utilities too.

            But in fairness to these private utilities companies, private sector tends to do well against bureaucracies, so it’s a good balance in the end, kinda like how we have the US Postal Service, but also having UPS/FEDEX around. Big cities tend to keep their utilities, like LADWP, etc. for small cities, counties, i’m sure it’s a god send as private companies take this weight from them. The only thermo plant in the state i believe is Mammoth, and the company (which is Israeli) is pretty much part of the town, very good relationship (although not so much with the water providers, which i think is private too, handling both water and sewage, since both are essentially dipping into the same water source, one part hot, other part not).

            so there’s plenty of example of private utilities doing really well over here, it’s not all doom and gloom, Bill.

            • “From memory it was the poorer folks who wound up in Trailer parks or with a trailer on a block well outside the city limits. I doubt many will buy solar panels either.”

              Bill, there’s two types of trailer parks here, all poor folks. the ones in the cities (which are not mostly getting turn down to make room for apts/condos) won’t be too interested with solar/wind, they’ll be too busy working, or doing drugs, or spending their money else where.

              But the ones in the country, will be populated by folks who are attempting to live off the grid, these types of trailer parks are the ones increasing in number (it’s a lot cheaper in the long run, to invest in panels and good batteries for power storage), the poor/inner city ones are disappearing, they’ll usually end up in low-cost publically subsidized housing, which are now mandated to have solar on roofs.

              Solar is getting really big here, even small individual wind turbines for homes too.

          • Here’s some good charts mapping out where electricity comes from in California, Bill, so coal went down, as natural gas went up, as natural gas went up other renewable sources also went up,

            I know Australia’s a pretty big exporter of coal. I’m not sure Indonesia ever caught up with you guys.

              • Bill In Oz says:

                Yes I see that Australia is a major exporter or coal ( & of gas too ). Along with Indonesia.
                But here we are closing down coal fired power generation plants and opting for much more expensive gas.. Power here has gone up by almost 300% in the past decade..

                I wonder which country the CO2 created is credited to; the exporter or the importer country ?

              • If you notice that dip of coal in around 2011, that’s Obama’s concerted effort to put a stop on coal (which IMHO is great), and increase natural gas, drilling, storing and use (which is cleaner than coal), but the rush to frack resulted in a lot of leaks,

                I’m wondering now since it’s obvious you guys are following our footsteps, if fracking increased in Australia as well, Bill.

                It’s not CO2 that leaks when talking about natural gas, rather it’s CH4, , which scientist are surmising is a lot more damaging in the short term than CO2.

                As for that 300% increase in pricing, we never felt the shift from coal to gas over here, Bill, mostly i think because of the Public Utilities Commission which ensures prices are steady. Do you guys have a similar gov’t watch-dog body in Australia?

                But in the end I’m with you though, that it’s already too late, the point of no return was in the 90s.

              • chemrock says:

                Carbon emission is based o’t hang you Bill.n when the gas is emitted during consumption. Thus the production of coal does not go into the producing country’s carbon footprint. They won

              • Bill In Oz says:

                Chemrock, I get the drift of your comment but there I am perplexed by the ‘ t hang you Bill…” in it..I assume this is an editing typo..

              • Bill In Oz says:

                Lance , we have an odd situation here. Gas power production was selected in the 2000’s as the low CO2 route. So coal has been closing down and gas ramping up. And we are a major gas exporter as well.

                The price of exported gas is less than the domestic price…What ? How come ? Why ? Because of contractual obligations by the gas producing companies entered into 12-15 years ago ! Mostly to Japan & China

                So we are cheap gas exporter but pay far more if we use it to produce power locally..

                A complete stuff up. And bizarre.

                So the owners of gas fired plants wait until there is a major power shortage and the spot price for power has hit very high levels before starting to generate significant power..

                And governments actually ‘planned’ this ? No.

                And that is the failing. We Australians know in our guts that here the best way is to planahead and sort it. Complete free enterprise screws us all… But that is what we have. And idiocratic “free enterprise ) dominated governments are feeling the pain of electoral anger.

                It will get better. But politicians arses are going to be sore and many feel the loss due to forced retirements.

                Watch this space !

    • popoy says:

      Thanks Karl. I followed the link, had a look and spent time reading the piece and the enormous amount of comments and made me wonder did I write that, said to be a dream because dreaming is free? Can dreams be so detailed pre-feasibility it could take may be seven days of snooze in the noodle house? The piece did not consider rising sea levels like Venice did not think of melting glaciers or global warming when they build their canals, nor Venetians thought of culture of corruption or impunity of wise guys they did not have at the time.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Uhm. I got the 280 feet risen sea level from a retired admiral of the Philippine Navy, so it gave me the creeps, hence the article. I also read several meters only, but coming from this respectable, knowledgeable and well-traveled person, his statement nudged me to some kind of numbness.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Maybe my dad knows the admiral.

      • NHerrera says:


        The following link gives an estimate of the water level rise from the total melting of ice in Greenland and Antarctica calculated by Claire L. Parkinson of Oceans and Ice Branch, Code 971, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt MD 20771

        Click to access 02_10_97_1.pdf

        Parkinson calculated the water level rise as 79.6 meters from Greenland and Antarctica ice melt. This is comparable to your retired Admiral friend’s estimate of 280 ft (= 85 meters).

        • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

          Hi NH! Why am I not happy to be proven right?

          • NHerrera says:

            You are not the only one not happy about that. If it is any consolation the situation will not happen in a day — like yesterday it was ok, and the next day we are drowned with the sea level up by 80 meters or so.

            But that is not consolation enough, even when the process is very slow. Will fortunate countries at higher elevations allow people from unfortunate countries to migrate there for safety? Even within country — at enclaves with high elevation — will the people there not man their areas with guns to shoot the low-landers, etc?

            Here is where the human creativity may be of help, a sci-fi scenario here — floating cities, etc, but that is another story.

  10. karlgarcia says:

    Some of Trumps concerns are valid namely the commitments( Paris agreement) are all voluntary and not mandatory.

    But I guess that is why they are commitments.

  11. karlgarcia says:

    Sothe Larsen C calving won’t contribute to rising sea levels? What happened to Larsen A and B?

  12. karlgarcia says:

    “He hopes he could afford a new car, but with his meager pay, how is that possible?”

  13. karlgarcia says:

    “In the office, he got chewed off by his boss for coming in late as usual. Sometimes, he feels like jumping out of the window of their offices on the 37th floor of the Philbanking building on Ayala Avenue for the way he’s treated. A king in his home, a piece of rag at work.”
    Two links, one is about stress at work, and the other us about mental health at work.

  14. Wil,

    just caught this little story, thought you’d like it:

    “Teddy Fischer’s first big scoop as a journalist started out as lark.

    Fischer learned of a May Washington Post story that had accidentally published with a photo showing Keith Schiller, President Donald Trump’s bodyguard, holding a stack of papers. On one page was a yellow sticky note with the words “Jim ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis” scribbled on it, followed by a phone number.

    James Mattis is the retired four-star general who is now Trump’s defense secretary.

    Fischer flipped the image and zoomed in on the phone number so he could read it.

    And that’s when his journalistic instinct kicked in.

    Fischer, who’s 17 and a rising high school junior, is a reporter for his Seattle-area school newspaper, the Mercer Island High School Islander.

    So Fischer texted the normally press-shy Mattis a request for an interview.

    And to his surprise, Mattis agreed.”

    Interview full transcript here:

    • popoy says:

      Thanks Lance Corporal, I was reading the link transcript of the “Mad Dog” interview I got to stop due to nature’s necessity. I got the idea early on the read that what’s on the mind of a near future US President (POTUS) after Trump. After reading in the New Yorker he has got more than 2000 books, etc. etc. Mattis strikes me as having the “military mind” that’s suited for US Presidency. On his mental character formed by history (yesterday) he has the ordnance to deal with the eche bucheche of today and tomorrow. I forget it now, I might already have written something about Sec Mattis in a comment here inTSOH.

      • popoy says:

        here’s the piece in the New Yorker about a :”Monk Warrior” . A long one Eh for a read and not for those who is not interested and got no time beyond the eche bucheche of the wise.

        I like that part when his mates in uniform got together to convince Mattis sweetheart it is okay to marry a man in uniform.

        • “In December, 2001, Nate Fick, a young captain in a Marine reconnaissance unit near Kandahar, Afghanistan, was checking on his men. The war had begun two months earlier, and Fick had ordered them to fan out in pairs and man defensive positions around the outpost. “It’s a twenty-four-hour operation,” Fick told me. “Really austere. No food. Freezing cold.” Around 3 a.m., Fick spotted a foxhole with three men in it; he strode up, preparing to chew out the marines who had disobeyed his orders. To his surprise, he saw Mattis, at that time a one-star general, checking on the men. “It was a corporal and a sergeant—and General Mattis, at three in the morning, doing the same thing I was,” he said.

          Mattis fulfills every aspect of the Marine ideal. At sixty-six, he remains trim, and he pushes himself relentlessly. People often describe him as a “warrior monk,” and though he likes to respond that the only monastery he’d enjoy is one supplied with “beer and ladies,” he acts the part. He rarely drinks and has little in the way of a social life. “He’s the most self-disciplined person I’ve ever known,” Mike Ennis, a retired two-star general who roomed with Mattis when they were lieutenants on Okinawa, forty years ago, told me. Mattis is known almost universally among colleagues for his honesty. “Jim Mattis has more integrity in his little finger than almost anyone in Washington,” Michèle Flournoy, an Under-Secretary of Defense under Obama, told me.”


          That was some great reading, popoy, thanks! Those two names above come from this think tank, They were the ones who advise Obama, and pushed for nation building in Afghanistan.

          But yeah, Mattis is well-loved for sure.

          • popoy, what does eche bucheche mean, I notice you use that expression a lot.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Eche bureche- too mch fuss or much ado about nothing

              • karlgarcia says:



                This is a Filipino slang word.

                cheche boreche
                trivial stuff

            • popoy says:

              Thanks Karl but that’s the derivative of my word, I did not like mine to sound like a FART (boreche) from a narrow bore. ECHE BUCHECHE to me is the whole dictionary when I want to praise, criticize, insult, slander or admire a person, an idea or something AVOIDING to be charged with libel or being thank for good words or complements, it’s really the eche bucheche (windmills ) of my mind.

              If math is the language of physics and physics is the relationship of the content (chemistry) of the universe, eche bucheche is just an expression of a wannabe artist and poet. Lalong lumabo Eh becoming as clear as mud.

              Lance you can be JoeAm’s eche bucheche just as much a you are the most read by eche bucheche readers here in TSOH. Comm expert Prof Berlo says MEANINGS ARE IN PEOPLE.

              • karl, popoy, thanks.

                It looked French so I thought you were quoting a song or something.

                I see, it’s a catch all phrase, like mental farts but smells like ripe strawberries. or like a Jackson Pollock painting. you’re a true artist, popoy— i wouldn’t even have thought of that.

          • josephivo says:

            But watch for the connections over the years between Mattis, Erik Prince/Blackwater, De Vos, Steve Bannon, Mike Pence and the ultra-conservatives Christians….

            (Had several assignments at Prince in Holland, MI, in a previous life and kept following the Princes since then. There are plenty of articles and You Tube videos on the subject)

            • josephivo,

              De Vos/Prince (they’re siblings) , Steve Bannon for sure have a connection, whether or not Mike Pence is connected with the three previously I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

              But when you lump Mattis in there, he sticks out, josephivo, because he’s not a conservative Christian like those 4. He’s conservative I think, but not a nut case Bible thumper like those four named.

              Prince is definitely a nut case IMHO, and Blackwater to field their contracts ended up hiring a bunch of crazies, and they ended up putting regular military units in harms way. So if anything Mattis would counter any cute ideas Prince might have ,

              but the end say is Trump’s so the sky’s still the limit.

              Prince has re-branded Blackwater a bunch of times and now operates outside the US (Gulf states), last i heard it was dubbed Reflex Responses (no doubt, copying the name for Executive Outcomes).

              You have any more dirt on Erik Prince, josephivo? But Mattis I’m confident would be anti-Prince/Bannon.

              • josephivo says:

                e.g. Mattis was defending Prince in the Blackwater revenge raid in Irak…

                “While most administration officials have refused to publicly confirm details, Sebastian Gorka, a deputy assistant to the President, in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper discussed the idea of using Erik Prince, the controversial former head of the now disbanded Blackwater company to supply contractors for a variety of unspecified missions in Afghanistan.”

              • josephivo says:
              • sonny says:

                LC, the asceticism practiced by religious communities under a Rule & Constitutions are pretty much under the direct oversight of the Vatican Congregation for Religious. Any other so-called religious “communities” can operate on their own and not devise their own rules of operation. Approvals, and sanctions can operate de facto, i.e. outside any radar. Of note, the strictest observances recognized within Vatican oversight are monasteries/hermitages of Trappist, Carthusian, Camaldolese, Carmelite orders and others. You could investigate monasteries of the Eastern Christian Churches.

                If you think they are “waaay too soft” ways to be closer to God, try a life-long practice of vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience in one monastic community. 🙂 The missionary orders are also a whole different story; hence the distinction between contemplative vs active missionary life. Essene-like communities and hermits were common during the times immediately after Pentecost and the Fathers of the Church, Augustine and other early hermits and recluses.


              • “If you think they are “waaay too soft” ways to be closer to God, try a life-long practice of vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience in one monastic community.”

                Sorry, not according to me, sonny, but in comparison to John the Baptist as described in the NT. I’ll look into these orders. I did read in that Benedictine Rules, that they didn’t cover hermits, recluse and vagabonds. I think that’s where i’d find what I’m looking for.

              • sonny says:

                (LC, this theme/thread on the Camaldolese and monasticism might end up I don’t know where. I’m just relying on your better sense of continuity in our discussion. Anyway here goes)

                When navigating through a theocratic “organization” such as Catholicism & the Roman Catholic Church then we run very easily into the taxonomy of the organization. Such is the term “religious life” and what it subsumes. I hope I don’t confuse matters. Allow me an entry point of reference (excerpt) and into the body (website material):

                “The Scriptures tell us that perfection consists in the love of God and our neighbour, or to speak more accurately, in a charity which extends from God to our neighbour, finding its motive in God, and the opportunity for its exercise in our neighbour. We say “it has its motive in God”, and for that reason Christ tells us that the second commandment is like to the first (Matthew 22:39); “and the opportunity for its exercise in our neighbour”, as St. John says: “If any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar. For he that loveth not his brother, whom he seeth, how can he love God, whom he seeth not?” (1 John 4:20).”

                This brings us to the subject of the Catholic understanding of “religious life” – ultimately to theology and morality through the 2000 years of Catholicism:


              • sonny,

                This is what I was looking for, so there is an actual differentiation ,

                Paul the Hermit is the first Christian historically known to have been living as a monk. In the 3rd Century Anthony of Egypt (252-356) lived as a hermit in the desert and gradually gained followers who lived as hermits nearby but not in actual community with him. This type of monasticism is called eremitical or “hermit-like”.

                and opposed to

                In 346 St Pachomius established in Egypt the first cenobitic Christian monastery.[9] At Tabenna in Upper Egypt, sometime around 323 AD, Pachomius decided to mold his disciples into a more organized community in which the monks lived in individual huts or rooms (cellula in Latin,) but worked, ate, and worshipped in shared space. The intention was to bring together individual ascetics who, although pious, did not, like Saint Anthony, have the physical ability or skills to live a solitary existence in the desert.

                today, are there Catholics with “the physical ability” and “skills to live” solitary lives in the wilderness? Now more than ever would be the best time Eremitic Monks make their return IMHO, sonny.

              • sonny says:

                LC, austere solitary living for the sake of Christ’s love brings to mind Camaldoli, Carthusians and ironically, Jesuits. Their commonality is the eremetical lifestyle and training. Because the Christian spirituality always includes the element of the grand commission at Pentecost, their authenticity also bears the oversight of the Vatican. My opinion.


              • Re physical ability and skills (like Jesus & John the Baptist, ie. both in the wilderness and the lesser commissioning instructions per Matthew of Jesus) I was more picturing an order like this photo below,

                asceticism and mysticism thru survival, sonny. Because how did John live on locust and honey; Jesus fish and bread story may (or may not) be related to being able to live in the wilderness for extended periods of time, ie. fighting the Devil or simply pangs of hunger.

                Jesuits started out as former soldiers, but are there orders now that specialize in survival as a means to come to understand God? Monks who literally pray outside, sonny, in the wild.

                Carthusians do come close, but they are more inside types; Jesuits if by this you mean their on the road portion where the hitch hike around, yeah that would be close too; but i’m more focused on this whole wilderness business, sonny, not urban (and not house-bound)—- I just think if there were Catholic monks, mystics, hermits , ascetics doing this now, they’d have a bunch of followers, or tap into something sought after now,

                ie. dynamic, challenging, etc. and being in the wilderness.

              • sonny says:

                Sorry, LC. Just looking at the foto of “wilderness-type” mysticism/asceticism you furnished, I must say we left each other at some key fork-in-the-road. Nonetheless allow me another link that may still touch on commonalities of thought we began. (Consider also the “wilderness” (of locusts/protein and honey/energy) of which Jesus, John the Baptist and the ascetics of those times and places). Can you also point me to some website of the groups you speak of.

                The asceticism of monastic (alone) life is derived from the eremetical life.

                “… It has already been pointed out that the monastic ideal is an ascetic one, but it would be wrong to say that the earliest Christian asceticism was monastic. Any such thing was rendered impossible by the circumstances in which the early Christians were placed, for in the first century or so of the Church’s existence the idea of living apart from the congregation of the faithful, or of forming within it associations to practise special renunciations in common was out of the question.”


                Catholicism/Christianity is now challenged on all fronts. Hence the clarity of what Christians stand for necessitate using all its own “arsenal” drawn from both individual and communal witness in life & doctrine.

              • sonny,

                There are these Evangelical groups,



                But this is all more Left Behind/ the Rapture related philosophy , than what we are talking about re monasticism and spirituality, though original Christianity is based on millenarianism…

                but i’m more interested in spirituality via non-materialism, not so much millenarian stuff. Though prepping is one form of survivalism , i’m more into balancing human life with the rest of the natural world vis- a- vis terra-forming.

              • sonny says:

                LC, here’s a statement of what I had the chance to taste personally as a monk-in-formation (very young) as you had of military life:

                “MEANS to the end

                It must be clearly understood that, in the case of the monk, asceticism is not an end in itself. For him, as for all men, the end of life is to love God. Monastic asceticism then means the removal of obstacles to loving God, and what these obstacles are is clear from the nature of love itself. Love is the union of wills. If the creature is to love God, he can do it in one way only; by sinking his own will in God’s, by doing the will of God in all things: “if ye love Me keep my commandments”. No one understands better than the monk those words of the beloved disciple, “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life”, for in his case life has come to mean renunciation. Broadly speaking this renunciation has three great branches corresponding to the three evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience.”

                Thus, any privation and action that one undertakes without reference to Love of God will get reduced to mere folly. (my words). Even when undertaken in the context of the military, the finest hour of this relationship can be found in the cases of Catholic/Christian chaplains being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.


                The Congressional Medal of Honor is awarded “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty.” The criteria for this award are so stringent, there are very few in history who have received the award. The following list constitutes all seven military chaplains who have received the award in U.S. military history.

                Major Charles Joseph Watters, United States Army, for service in the Battle of Dak To, Viet Nam.
                Lieutenant Vincent Robert Capodanno, United States Navy, Marine Corps, for service while aiding the 2d Platoon of M Company, at the battle of Dong Son, Viet Nam.
                Captain Angelo J. (Charles) Liteky, United States Army, for service in battle at Phuoc Lac, Viet Nam.
                Commander Joseph Timothy O’Callahan, United States Navy, for service aboard the U.S.S. Franklin, which was then under heavy attack by Japanese aircraft during offensive operations near Kobe, Japan, near the end of World War II.
                Chaplain Milton Lorenzi Haney, United States Army, for service in battle at Atlanta, Georgia, during the Civil War.
                Chaplain John M. Whitehead, United States Army, for service in battle at Stone River, Tennessee, during the Civil War.
                Chaplain Francis B. Hall, United States Army, for service in battle at Salem Heights, Virginia, during the Civil War.

                *Fr Capodanno’s cause for sainthood has been submitted to the Vatican.
                *Fr O’callahan was a Jesuit priest also.

              • sonny says:

                These 7 are Catholic chaplains.

            • josephivo says:

              … ultras with Peter the Hermit and Bernard of Clairvaux as their heroes, someone has to call the masses to defend their faith against flagrant attacks by the Muslims, heretics, unbelievers and gays.

              • I’ll definitely keep a closer eye on this, josephivo, thanks.

                If Mattis was defending Blackwater in Iraq (that all depends if it’s recent or back then), it was a weird situation, regular militaries were grumbling, because all these guys with beards were just playing cowboys, they were basically glorified bodyguards, guarding people and deliveries. So you got those people running up and down the streets shooting up, while regular military units were going thru the motions of winning hearts and minds.

                Regular military units knew that the locals didn’t really quite care the difference who was shooting up, so if they criticized too publicly, they’d risk over exposing the problem. But if Mattis’ defense of Prince is recent then there’s smoke.

                But in fairness to Prince, it was his mass hire trying to claim all contracts that was the main issue, where i guess pretty much anyone who talked tough and had a beard stateside was hired, that resulted in all this; eventually he’d fire all those jokers and kept his own people, quality of their work went up again.

                The business plan these days I heard was hiring special ops type 3rd worlders, and have Americans/British/Australia special ops (former) be their officers (kinda like the cruise ship industry), they make a lot more money.

                They also have their own entourage of prostitutes flown in, for so so days they get Filipina/Thai prostitutes, for good days it’s Ukrainian and Russia prostitutes.

                It’s not just Prince, this whole notion of nations hiring mercenaries have been around of course, though these days they are pretty much around Africa protecting business interests, mining, shipping, etc.. The largest mercenary outfit in Afghanistan now is DynCorp, but they are specifically mostly for police training, small town cops over here go for 1 to 2 years, training police there.

                Can you imagine going back in time to the Middle Ages and teaching the nuance of community policing and the Rule of Law. It’s a joke!

                “… ultras with Peter the Hermit and Bernard of Clairvaux as their heroes, “

                this is the first i’ve heard of these names. I wonder if sonny can chime in as to their significance in current Church doctrines now.

              • sonny says:

                LC, these two are both known for their influence in calling for the Christian crusade of the twelfth century. Both calls were failures because of degeneration into vices by those who participated. St Bernard remains more a hero for his holiness (preaching & writing). Peter the Hermit is more coated in legend.


              • Perfect! thanks, sonny. That’s the input i wanted. I’ll look more into this St. Bernard character , but still Origen is my number one guy. While i got you on this subject, sonny, who are your favorite saints and why?

              • sonny says:


                LC, this is so uncanny of you to have me to name my favorite saints. Well, my birthday feastday falls on one of the greatest feasts of the Catholic Calendar, All Saints Day. So here goes.

                St Benedict of Nursia (Italian patrician), founder of the Benedictine Order; he is the original cookie-cutter of monasteries. If the number 12 (apostles) was good enough for Jesus Christ then 12 was good enough for him. Reaching a membership of 12 monks, it signaled the time to start to found a new monastery. His monastic Rule was designed for a community like Christ and the apostles. St Benedict’s formula for holiness: “Prayer & Work” (Ora et Labora).

                St Ignatius of Loyola (Spaniard, nobleman & soldier), founder of the Jesuit Order; he should be named the patron saint of the Marines & Special Forces – first to fight. St Ignatius’ formula for success: “For the greater glory of God” (Ad majorem Dei gloriam).

                St Augustine of Hippo (African, the prodigal son), patron of the Augustinian Order; he is the model for repentance and conversion of morals. St Augustine’s prayer to God; “burn me here, cut me here, afflict me as you will on earth so that You may spare me in eternity!”


                It goes without say, ALL saints loved God to the extreme each according to his/her gifts.

                Look up also St Catherine of Siena, St Teresa of Avila, St Gertrude the Great.

              • sonny says:

                @ LC

                PS. To read about the lives of St Benedict of Nursia & St Ignatius of Loyola click on their names at the link to St Bernard of Clairvaux.

              • sonny , thanks!

                Ignatius and Augustine i’ve heard before, but have not really dug deeply. But this Benedict guy sounds very interesting, i’ll read up on him first. Sounds like St. Francis.

                Do you know of any movies on these on list?

                St. Teresa I remember vividly on a show i watched (History channel?) about the Italian renaissance and sculptures , and how orgasmic her expression was, and how absolutely genius this was on the sculptures part.

              • sonny says:

                @ on St Benedict of Nursia & the Benedictine Order:

                He is considered by historians & non-historians alike, to be the Father of Western Monasticism. St Benedict and The Rule he wrote engendered tens of thousands of spiritual children down the centuries up to the present time. As spiritual guidance, the principles of obedience, moderation and humility are forever associated with his Christian spirituality –


                @ on St Teresa of Avila & Mystical Theology:

                Christian mysticism is studied in this branch of Catholic theology. The examples of the lives of St Teresa and many other holy followers referred to from the prophet Elijah, St Paul and the Christian mystics are studied under Mystical Theology –


              • I just realize St. Patrick and St. Benedict would be contemporaries, sonny. And I guess it was St. Benedict’s rules , and monasteries that would eventually save much of Rome’s intellectual treasures.

                On Christian mysticism, are there more stuff written on John the Baptist?

              • sonny says:

                LC, on St John the Baptist –

                Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, some speculations suggest connections between St John the Baptist and the sect called the Essenes and even attempts at connecting Jesus Christ to the same sect.


              • sonny, I’m familiar with the Essenes re John the Baptist, but is there Catholic tradition pre-Dead Scrolls, maybe much older focusing on how John the Baptist lived, ie. his mysticism?

                Like for example that monastery you linked in Big Sur, looked waaay too comfortable, are there Catholics that follow John the Baptist’s life style, as means to be closer to God?

            • “Can you also point me to some website of the groups you speak of.”

              There’s none that I know of, sonny— hence my inquiries re the Catholic side of things. That photo isn’t of a group per se, it’s the contestants for Naked and Afraid , some t.v. survival show… i just wanted to illustrate a John the Baptist type order, living in the wilderness, that’s how they would like , i think.

              In Christendom , all that’s left seems to be monasteries, where it seems the farthest (or most severe) are the cloistered monks, here in the US (i don’t know if they are equal or more severe than the Big Sur guys you linked to earlier, but hopefully i can ask around with those guys, but from their website it looks like the Camaldolese monks are simply inn-keepers—- not sure if you’re familiar with Big Sur, sonny, but there are a bunch of cabin, lodges, B&Bs, etc even glamping, high end camping thousands of dollars a night, looks to me the Camaldolese are doing just that in Big Sur, running an inn.)

              On the Buddhist and Jainist front, same thing, most are simply cloistered in cells or homes, they require a lay community around them to exist, that’s their logistics, they need to be around towns or cities… whereas these Catholic monks aside from lay communities support will either be inn-keepers, or craftsmen, or wine/beer makers, thus have something to sell too.

              If there is a survivalist type order, sonny (which there seems to be none), aside from lay community support, I think they’d be teachers teaching survival, love of nature, ability to live within natural laws (understood as God’s laws), or something similar (that’s what they’d have to offer). Hindu Sadhus seem closest to John the Baptist type surviving in the wilderness ministry, but from my understanding Hindu Sadhus tend to hang around in urban centers as well, so again they too are reliant on lay communities support (via implicit support or explicit mendicancy).

              So it looks like what i’m looking for is not around anymore. Though for the purposes of my inquiries you’ve already pointed me to the right directions, ie. Camaldolese in Big Sur & Carthusians in Vermont, so thanks, sonny! i’ll follow up with them. But if you come across something close to my search, send me a link.

              • sonny,

                I understand the balance here, re community, asceticism, mysticism and the Church (ie. doctrines).

                “Thus, any privation and action that one undertakes without reference to Love of God will get reduced to mere folly. (my words). “

                I ‘m not talking about subtracting love of God from the equation (although as a non-believer, it’s not the top most in my priorities) , love of God need not be taken out of the equation, nor responsibilities to the wider community/Church.

                Not mutually exclusive, all can still be in play here.

                Just that wisdom that results from being cloistered in the wilderness, as opposed to your cell, seems more valuable especially in this day of age, is my point, ie. appreciation for nature (thus God’s love).

                Kinda like Ralph Waldo Emerson’s,

              • sonny says:

                “Not mutually exclusive, all can still be in play here.”

                Sweet music to my ears, LC. You may not be a believer but you do intersect many thoughts, disciplines and systems. Many times Catholic epistemology is more of “both … and” plus “either … or” One of these days you’ll find yourself at “St Peter’s Piazza” again. 🙂 You are in my prayers. (I’m really digesting this conversation, LC. Thank you)

              • sonny says:

                Luv those thoughts from Emerson, LC.

                Just another memory:

                My wife and I were stranded in Rome after her heart attack. We were hosted by the Comboni Fathers in their HQ community just outside the city at EUR (Mussolini’s planned capital city). 5 minute-walk from the HQ are a Trappist monastery and a Benedictine monastery both centuries old (I gather). The surrounding Italian community is high-to-middle end socio-economically now. When the monks decided many tens of decades earlier that this was where their monastery was to be built, the place was malaria-infested due to standing water. The monks went to work, planting eucalyptus trees to drain the swamp and surfaced the arable land underneath. This is a monastic theme repeated ever since St Benedict and his monks “roamed’ the European countryside. Hence the saying, “wherever the Church went, civilization followed.”

                Also read: (Isaac Jogues and other Jesuit companions)


              • Thanks, sonny!

                You’ve definitely added to my understanding of these monastic orders, before I’d only known of Jesuits (i thought their mandatory On the Road portion of their training harkened back to the Spartans’ agoge),

                and I guess the Franciscans too I’m familiar with, but I learned about them from the public school system, wherein they were basically the bad guys essentially kidnapping and falsely imprisoning indians of California , to force them to live their way and believe the same, in their missions here.

                In a way, our talk here is symbolic of that difference, sonny, indians were hunting and gathering, thus part of the natural world; whereas the Franciscans were pastoralist/farmers, apart from the natural order of things. Had the Franciscans been more a-tuned to St. Francis, or an order i’m describing in this thread existed (ie., monks who can exist as part of nature), maybe the conversion of the indians of California need not have been so painful,

                but fast forward to now and into the future, with global warming and stuff, I think we’re due for another Dark Ages of sorts, hence the value of these monks who can live within not apart from nature. In this thread, at least we’ve discovered that no such order exists now.

                sonny, I do know that these monastic orders were responsible for preserving Latin works (the Irish orders) and Greek works, the Church of the East, eventually under the patronage of Muslims, preserved knowledge of Ancient Greece. I don’t doubt that they also terra-formed (your draining the swamp in Rome),

                I ‘ve visited all the existing (many renovated and/or recreated) Missions here in California, they made aqueducts, wells, stood walls, etc etc. All great feats. I just think that was the wrong path to go on in general, or that maybe we went over board in our terra-forming as humans (regardless of religion), hence all the problems now, but that’s just my opinion, sonny.

                In the end, whether one’s for progress, terra-forming, science, development, there is importance in people who live within nature, not apart (my whole point). I’ve always read John the Baptist this way, and base on what Jesus said in Matthew during his lesser commissioning instructions, i think Jesus too was all about making light ecological footprints—- ie. less is more , small is big. That’s my understanding of Jesus, sonny.

        • “For Trump, the choice of Mattis seemed more emotional than deliberative. Their initial meeting lasted just forty minutes, and Trump seemed drawn to him less for his world view than for his fearsome reputation. Announcing his nomination for Secretary of Defense, Trump revelled in using the general’s nickname—Mad Dog—and compared him to General George S. Patton, who was famous for his tactical brilliance, his profane language, and his merciless style. Anecdotes about Mattis’s audacity in the field are legion. Early in the Iraq War, he met with local leaders and told them, “I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: if you fuck with me, I will kill you all.”

          Here’s what happened in that 40 minute meeting, popoy ,

          • popoy says:

            Lance, I ain’t biting that eche bucheche of a wayward cartoon. Didn’t my eche bucheche prophesy the warrior monk with thousands of books will be a near future POTUS. That probably the “mad dog” will be greater POTUS than former eche bucheche soldiers Ike and Jimmy Carter. GW the first POTUS who refused to be King was no eche bucheche. Oh Yes, about POTUS Trump: the press freedom media dishes out never ending cosmic eche bucheche against him. Hoping though JoeAm won’t delete my being a corny eche bucheche troll from here on.

            • There’s not a lot of one-liners that came from Vietnam , popoy, most of the stuff associated with Vietnam actually came from Hollywood movies.

              But Mattis single handedly supplied us with all the important one-liners (pithy) to fight this war. This guy knew Marines, he dumbed everything down whilst making everything clearer. That was all his books converted to nuggets of wisdom for us in the field.

              “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”

              “The most important six inches on the battlefield is between your ears.”

              “You are part of the world’s most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon.”

              “There are hunters and there are victims. By your discipline, cunning, obedience and alertness, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim.”

              “No war is over until the enemy says it’s over. We may think it over, we may declare it over, but in fact, the enemy gets a vote.”

              “There is nothing better than getting shot at and missed. It’s really great.”

              “You cannot allow any of your people to avoid the brutal facts. If they start living in a dream world, it’s going to be bad.”

              • With that said, I don’t think he’ll want to be president… he’s not a politician, doesn’t crave the lime-light. Gen. Flynn was more of a politician (Flynn for sure would fit with the four people josephivo mentioned above). More of a fanatic, whereas Mattis a more balanced mind.

              • popoy says:

                I beg to differ there a bit Lance. It’s leader’s stars and destiny that matter more than what he thinks he wants not to be. He could be POTUS by the next decade. Them statesmen POTUS George Washington, Clerk Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, James Carter ain’t no politicians. Them Americans who don’t get big bucks from entertainment can’t and don’t turned their backs on their country. They know history and just make ’em own history. .

  15. NHerrera says:


    Interesting thing happening in Trump’s White House. Will the new fella, Scaramucci, be as good with his mouth, as Scaramouche (in the movie) is with his sword? So the WH — with a DOWNSIDE UP scenario — can recover?

  16. madlanglupa says:

    It happened. No surprises because he had the legislature by the neck.

    Excuse my French, sir, but fuck this Tongress.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: