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Supreme Court decision in Poe v Comelec is a political expediency. Pure Machiavelli.

There are two ways to begin this post.

The first is “Dear Supreme Court, I am mightily disappointed… but then, what’s new?”

The second is “I do sympathize with foundlings because the framers of the 1987 Constitution failed to categorically state how their citizenship ought to be determined.”

For now, I’ll let things stand in that order although, logically, the first is an offshoot of the second. In trying to fill a void in the law, in a good-intentioned move to grant natural-born citizenship status to foundlings, the Supreme Court effectively legislated and broke one of the most precious tenets of Constitutional Law — the separation of powers. [Read more…]

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How overanalyzing pop culture ruins our childhood (some thoughts about Maleficent, Winnie the Pooh and Harry Potter)

While Alex recovers, she stays on a makeshift bed in my home office during the day. I write when she sleeps; we chat when she’s awake and in the mood.

One of those chats triggered memories of a conversation we had last year after seeing Maleficent (yes, the one with Angelina Jolie in the title role). While I loved the film, she declared that it totally ruined her childhood because of the new twist on Maleficent’s character. At the time, I didn’t fully understand what she meant. I thought that the backstory would have a humanizing effect and make Maleficent a more sympathetic character — after all, except for religious bigots who believe in angels and devils, no one is born good or evil.

I wouldn’t appreciate that “ruined her childhood” bit until we saw Terminator Genisys a couple of weeks ago. Then, I understood — obliquely, at least. While Maleficent offered a backstory that previously did not exist, Genisys created a new timeline and made the hero John Connor a villain. The effect is the same — we grow up with characters that we have neatly labeled as heroes, villains, good, evil, friendly, antagonistic, inspiring or fearsome, then a new version comes along that wrecks what we have firmly established as our truths and we are forced to rethink everything from a different perspective. [Read more…]

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To the foreigner who wants to retire in the Philippines

The Philippines often gets included in lists of “ideal places to retire.” Among the attractions are the low cost of living and the balmy tropical climate. The Philippines consists of over 7,000 islands and living inexpensively on the coastline of one of them seems like a dream. For nationals of First World countries who grew up and grew old with bitter winters, the thought of life where the lowest temperature is the equivalent of a mild summer day in the Northern hemisphere makes the Philippines seem irresistible.

But, dear soon-to-be-a-retiree, expectations don’t always conform with reality. [Read more…]

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The lumpia vendor on the steps of the UP Law Library

I posted a recipe for meatless lumpiang togue (spring rolls with mung bean sprouts) and the memories came flooding in. [Read more…]

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Small and white, clean and bright…

I can’t remember exactly who it was that told me that moths and butterflies that enter the house are spirits of dead loved ones. Even as a child, I knew it was silly but I repeated the superstition to my own children anyway. Not as something they should take to heart (and they knew that!) but something whimsical — like subconsciously wishing that flowers are fairies that dance in the night (Fantasia) and that unicorns do exist. [Read more…]

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Efficient caching: Wordfence’s Falcon Engine or W3 Total Cache?

Confession: I used Hyper Cache for many, many years. It did make my (self-hosted) food blog‘s pages load faster but, unfortunately, it couldn’t keep the server load down.

Sad confession: So, I switched to W3 Total Cache which was recommended by most webhosts. It was also the most highly-downloaded WordPress cache plugin. So much for popularity. I had a love-hate relationship with W3 Total Cache all that time that I had it installed. My food blog‘s pages loaded faster without it. The only reason I retained it was because it kept the server load down.

Proud confession: A few hours ago, I discovered Wordfence which is essentially a security suite BUT with a built-in caching feature called Falcon Engine that can be optionally turned on. I opted to turn Falcon Engine on and my, oh, my. My food blog is loading much faster and the server load is stable.

Goodbye forever, W3 Total Cache. I will not miss you at all. [Read more…]

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Pharma companies have been trying to turn women into Stepford wives

No other way to put it.

… We have been taught to apologize for our tears, to suppress our anger and to fear being called hysterical.

The pharmaceutical industry plays on that fear, targeting women in a barrage of advertising on daytime talk shows and in magazines…

… Sales of antidepressants and antianxiety meds have been booming in the past two decades…

Meanwhile, a lot of branches of the “health” and “fitness” industry with the full support and cooperation of mass media have taught women to feel ashamed of their looks, their size and their age. And, naturally, sales of products to change the color of the skin, etcetera, to lose weight and to maintain youthful looks have been booming too.

Money makes the world go ’round.

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Parsley isn’t the only garnish that looks and tastes good with meatballs a la Parmigiana.