Monday, August 28, 2006

13 (Tzameti)

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Written and Directed by Gela Babluani

Starring Georges Babluani

This movie's plot is simple but the theme is mind-bogglingly disturbing. It is disturbing because it is so true. Poverty kills, literally.

Sebastien, played by Georges Babluani, mends roofs to earn money for the family. He takes on a project that unwittingly brings him misfortune, a promise of a better life for his family. He overhears the man of the house whose roof he's mending talk about waiting for a letter that will get him a fat paycheck. The man, a morphine-addict, dies and the letter, which contains a train ticket and a paid hotel pass flies to his lap. What does a man do faced with an opportunity to salvage himself from poverty? He packs his bags and takes the dead man's place, not knowing the trouble he gets himself into. First, he doesn't know that the police have been following the dead man's trail, suspecting that he is involved in some illegal gambling where money is spent and blood is shed. Second, he becomes a pawn to an elite group of wealthy men who bet millions to see unfortunate men willingly kill each other for the game.

He is whisked off to a house hidden in the forest, that after being taken to a secluded abandoned shed where he is subjected to a full body search, the gamekeepers making sure he has no bugs in him. He realizes the trouble he is in too late. He is number 13 of the men who are ready to get shot on the head for money or dead.

The game is like a free-for-all cock derby, angry gamecocks slashing each other's necks, but more tension-filled, more brutal, so human---mindlessly killing each other for the pot.

Despite the mess, Sebastian discovers his luck on the number 13, surviving the three rounds leading him to a duel with the three-time winner number 16, whose own brother pawns him for the big bucks. But luck smiles at 13 this time. Sebastian walks off with the money. Happy ending? I won't cook you a spoiler here. Watch 13. But here's one thing. Poverty kills, but not necessarily of hunger. Some die in the effort to extract themselves from that unfortunate situation.

The movie made the rounds of film festivals in Europe in 2005, winning the Best World Film category at the Sundance and the Best First Feature Film in Venice.

And by the way, this is not a movie review.

Check out the sweet pics from the movie.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Pluto Is Out

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Pluto and its satellite Charon (now also a dwarf planet)

The International Astronomical Union (IAU), the world's official body for astronomy, has voted out Pluto in the roster of planets in the solar system. This was a result of the organization's establishment of 3 main categories of objects in the solar system.

(1) A "planet" is a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (c) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.

(2) A "dwarf planet" is a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, (c) has not cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit, and
(d) is not a satellite.

(3) All other objects except satellites orbiting the Sun shall be referred to collectively as "Small Solar-System Bodies".

1The eight planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

2 An IAU process will be established to assign borderline objects into either dwarf planet and other categories.

3 These currently include most of the Solar System asteroids, most Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs), comets, and other small bodies.

Pluto becomes the prototype from which other trans-Neptunian objects (celestial objects that are farther from the sun compared to the planet Neptune) will be judged to qualify as a dwarf planet.

So what wrong did Pluto do? Pluto did not clean his room. According to the IAU, planets and dwarf planets share the same characteristics except that planets have cleared their orbits from astronomical debris.

Here are some interesting facts about this development:

1. The name dwarf planet is a misnomer. The IAU's definition of planet excludes them, which is exactly why they are given a different category.

2. Of the almost 10 thousand members of the IAU, only 424 were in the general assembly to vote. This gives ground to some sectors that argue against the IAU's resolution that would rewrite Science and make giant ripples in history and culture.

3. Mike Brown, whose team from Caltech discovered 2003UB313 (a Pluto-sized celestial object which, before the groundbreaking IAU resolution, was on the threshold of planethood together with two others), declares that, although the development was a personal defeat for him and his team, it is scientifically sound and that he welcomes it.

4. Some argue that the difference pointed out by IAU between planets and dwarf planets (clearing the neighborhood of its orbit from astronomical debris) is contentious, saying that Jupiter's and even Earth's orbits are populated as well with debris.

You may want to read more about this development in these links.

International Astronomical Union


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I'm Lola's Pet

My grandmother celebrated her 80th birthday last 16 August 2006. But because it was a regular work day, I only got the chance to visit her last Sunday. My lola, my father's mother, was the one who took care of me until I was 5 years old. In fact, as some form of homage to her, my parents culled my name (Armel) from her full name (Carmelita). Needless to say, she is very special to me. Man, I could remember clearly how difficult I was when my father took me back. It was like taking away a chick from its mother hen. My world revolved around her. I love her dearly. And I am thankful to God that at 80, she is still at the peak of her health. I even asked her to sew the hem of my malong using her trusty old sewing machine! (Not after arguing with her that I could very well do it myself. I was afraid that she might sew her fingers because, understandably, her eyesight is failing her because of age.) She's a gem. And I'm a proud lola's pet.

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My lola rocks the sewing machine. Here she is sewing my skirt, este malong pala.

Don't be deceived by looks. I may be old, but I can sew your mouth if you don't stop teasing me about my age!

Easy does it lola. Don't sew your fingers together. You need your fingers functioning. Lolo is dead.

My lola, my tita, and the native firewood stove doing some old-style home-cooking.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Jeep Hunk 02

Here's the second of radioactivity's series on street hunks, este jeep hunks pala. Let's call him Ramos (that's the name written on the back of his jersey. hehehehe). The shots here are not so revealing as the first one though. I hope you still enjoy. hehehehehe

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Monday, August 21, 2006

So Not for You

I recently just revisited my friendster blog and found this entry that also could very much describe some of the emotions in my simmering stew.

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I think of you so often and so intense,
I can almost touch you with the skin of my mind.
My body feels like swimming in the depths of the sea of your soul.
My being gets burnt by the rays of your love.
But why can't I touch you when you're just right across me?
Why can't my heart leap out of my chest and embrace yours when they are just two beats and a half apart?
Why can't my hands caress your skin when the space between us is as thin as a spider's web?
And my lips, why can't they kiss yours when they talk to each other so close like they are one?
Why are we not so meant to be when all that I want and all that I live for is you?

Simmering Stew

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I have been brooding about what exactly I feel about the turnout of events in my life but I can't seem to put a handle on them. My chest is just filled with a mishmash of emotions. It's like a pot filled with all sorts of flavors, colors, and textures. I still keep on stirring it, waiting for everything to settle down. Waiting for the stew to get cooked on very low fire. And this song just played in my head. Hhhmm. I don't think I'd like how my stew would taste.

If You're Not the One

by Daniel Bedingfield

If you're not the one then why does my soul feel glad today?
If you're not the one then why does my hand fit yours this way?
If you are not mine then why does your heart return my call?
If you are not mine would I have the strength to stand at all?

I never know what the future brings
But I know you are here with me now
We'll make it through
And I hope you are the one I share my life with

I don't wannna run away but I can't take it, I don't understand
If I'm not made for you then why does my heart tell me that I am?
Is there any way that I can stay in your arms?

If I don't need you then why am I crying on my bed?
If I don't need you then why does your name resound in my head?
If you're not for me then why does this distance maim my life?
If you're not for me then why do I dream of you as my wife?

I don't know why you're so far away
But I know that this much is true
We'll make it through
And I hope you are the one I share my life with
And I wish that you could be the one I die with
And Im praying you're the one I build my home with
I hope I love you all my life

I don't wanna run away but I can't take it, I don't understand
If I'm not made for you then why does my heart tell me that I am
Is there any way that I can stay in your arms?

'Cause I miss you, body and soul so strong that it takes my breath away
And I breathe you into my heart and pray for the strength to stand today
'Cause I love you, whether it's wrong or right
And though I can't be with you tonight
You know my heart is by your side

I don't wanna run away but I can't take it, I don't understand
If I'm not made for you then why does my heart tell me that I am
Is there any way that I can stay in your arms?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Are You Addicted to Internet Porn?

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Ensnared: Internet Creates New
Group of Sexual Addicts

By Marianne Szegedy-Maszak

Adding 200 sites a day, Internet pornography seduces with never-ending variety

FOR many people, a peek at an "adult" site offers merely a titillating glimpse into an illicit world.

For others, a peek becomes a moment of respite, a brief vacation from the demands of the real world. Then it becomes a habit. Soon, it is a compulsion that occupies hours and hours every day, shattering careers, marriages and lives.

The addictive nature of cruising the Internet and the obsessive allure of pornography combine to take over their existence. And although many who become addicted have had a history of acting out sexually with prostitutes, phone sex or pornographic magazines and movies, others are pulled in from outside such an orbit.

The Internet, more than any other type of mass medium, seems to be creating a new group of people engaged in compulsive sexual behavior, say psychologists and clinicians. The accessibility, anonymity and affordability---what one researcher calls the "triple A engine"---are reeling in people who would otherwise have never engaged in such behavior.

"I tried to figure out why it was that these images, or why it was that seeing this act, was so powerful, and I haven't been able to," says Phil, a married 28-year-old in Washington state. Like others interviewed for this story, he agreed only to the use of his first name. "But the obsession just ruled, and once I got into that world, it just took over."

Phil's story---with infinite variations but the same grisly narrative---is repeated by many whose lives are consumed by cyber porn. Whether gay or straight, married or single, those interviewed describe the intense feelings of guilt and excitement when entering this intoxicating universe, far away from the less thrilling one in which they live.

"As cyber sex has become more and more of a problem, what has shifted for me is the realization that many people who were into cyber sex didn't fit the classic profile of sex addicts," says Patrick Carnes, author of "In the Shadows of the Net: Breaking Free of Compulsive Online Sexual Behavior." He has spent 30 years studying and establishing sex addiction as a field of psychological dysfunction.

"For most people this is not an issue," says John Bancroft, the former director of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction. "But others have always had a problem keeping any kind of sexual stimuli under control and they have never had opportunities to go over the top as they do now."

Sex addiction is not recognized as a legitimate psychiatric disorder. But psychologists, psychiatrists and other clinicians are reporting increasing numbers of cases in which men---and researchers estimate that about 72% of visitors to pornographic sites are men---are showing all the signs of having an addictive disorder. They spend hours a day cruising the Net for explicit sexual sites. They become utterly dependent on the stimulus, making normal life---especially intimate life---no longer possible. When the material isn't there, they become obsessively preoccupied with it. And they ultimately crave even more time on the Web with even more graphic, lurid or outrageous stimuli.

It' the Internet's potential for escalation that has created such an increase in compulsive sexual behavior, says Rob Weiss, clinical director of the Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles, an outpatient treatment center for people with sexual behavior problems. In the past, someone could buy videos or magazines, each with a clear beginning, middle and end. "But now you can sit in the den and it never ends," he says. "There is a much better opportunity for someone with addictive tendencies to just get lost."

Some people who are lured into this world begin to act out in their three-dimensional existence, visiting prostitutes, for example, or engaging in phone sex. But most do not. The Internet offers an endless variety of stimulation, but it also leads to what psychologists refer to as a "dissociated state." Staring at the screen, feeling increasingly stimulated, clicking the mouse, all become almost a form of hypnosis, a state impossible to sustain in the real world.

Typically only a real crisis---a lost job, a confrontation by a spouse, police at the door because illegal pornography has been downloaded---can lead the addict to treatment. An assortment of 12-step programs have emerged to support recovery, and psychotherapists are reporting a surge in their practices of people seeking some way to rid themselves of this problem.

The Strain of Addiction

Night after night he sat at the computer, eyes scratchy with fatigue, back aching and tense, his right hand sometimes cramping from clicking the mouse from site to site to site.

Phil considers himself a sex addict.

When he was most out of control, he would wake up, kiss his wife goodbye, go to an adult bookstore and watch a movie while masturbating. Then, at work and when completing his undergraduate degree, he would check in at various Internet sites and try to recapture the images he saw in the film. Most evenings he would visit nearly 200 pornographic sites and masturbate two or three times. Some of the sites were chat rooms and he conversed with young women he fantasized were teenage girls and suspected were older men pretending they were teenage girls.

He flirted with women, or girls, on the sites, looked at pictures, watched pornographic video streaming---and found that the novel variations of what could be considered a pretty basic act were seemingly endless. After all, more than 4.2 million websites and more than 372 million pages are devoted to pornography, according to the Internet security service Internet Filter Review. Even if he had maintained this rate of consumption, it would have taken him almost two and half years to see everything.

But he could never see everything, because the pornographic universe, more rapaciously than Einstein's universe, is constantly expanding. Industry figures estimate that about 200 new sex-related sites are added each day.

"You keep yourself in a state of arousal for anywhere from half an hour to two or three hours," Phil says. "It's degrading and humiliating and very, very frustrating and confusing. A lot of it is based on the need to escape and get away from everything."

Those interviewed who are attempting to kick their Internet pornographic habit describe feelings of dissociation, and the way that the graphic sexual images on the Web intrude in their daily lives. Given the range of erotica they are exposed to, their own intimate lives pale in comparison, as partners, spouses and girlfriends recede in importance.

If there is one psychological element that unites them, clinicians who work with these addicts say, it is a basic fear of real intimacy. And for many, the sexual and illicit charge they receive from cruising the Internet is a way to cope with depression or anxiety that rules the rest of their lives. Web porn becomes a kind of self-administered shock therapy.

Among clinicians, they are seen as suffering from "problematic online sexual behavior." They range in age from pre-pubertal to geriatric.

In one study of 9,265 general Internet users, about 6% scored in a way that suggested cyber sex compulsivity, while an additional 10% of the entire sample was considered "at risk." That research, conducted in 2000 by Al Cooper, a psychologist at Stanford University, was published in the journal Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity. Extrapolating from this research, experts estimate that Internet sex has taken over the lives of possibly 8.9 million people in this country.

They do not fit any neat or coherent profile.

In his early book on sex addiction, "Don't Call It Love: Recovery From Sexual Addiction," Carnes described sex addicts as people who shared a number of characteristics. Overwhelmingly, they had a history of emotional, physical or sexual abuse in their childhoods. They often had suicidal thoughts or feelings and strong feelings of loneliness, and most came from families where there was abuse of drugs or alcohol.

Not so for the person addicted to cyber sex. Many are men, but women are increasingly showing up at 12-step programs, addicted less to graphic sex but much more to Internet "relationships" and Internet dating.

The Brain's Response

Masters and Johnson, the eminent duo of sex research, divided the human sexual response into four distinct phases: excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. Though these phases differ for each individual, it is generally understood that most people with both a healthy libido and a satisfying intimate relationship fully experience all of them. Perhaps not reliably, perhaps not all the time, but frequently enough to maintain a certain emotional and sexual equilibrium.

These behavioral phases, neuroscientists have learned, are generated by an exquisite interplay between two competing systems in the brain: the excitatory system and the inhibitory system. Experts in the human sexual response, like former Kinsey Institute director John Bancroft, caution that at this point "we can only speculate and conceptualize how the brain functions in an inhibitory way."

Nonetheless, when there is sexual dysfunction, when someone is uninterested in sex ---called a sexual anorexic by some clinicians---or obsessively masturbating, it is safe to say that either the inhibitory system or the excitatory system is out of whack.

The final ingredient in the inner workings of our sexual responses is what sex researchers call an arousal template. As individual as a fingerprint, an arousal template is, Carnes writes, "the total constellation of thoughts, images, behaviors, sounds, smells, sights fantasies and objects that arouse us sexually." The template can be as elaborate as an opera or as innocent as a particular perfume, but the images and feelings that it contains set in motion all the other elements of our sexual responses.

But with the variety and intensity of images, the Internet can throw this arousal template and all that follows into chaos.

"It can tap into an arousal template or fetish behavior that we don't even know we have," says David Delmonico, a professor of psychology at Duquesne University and co-director of Internet Behavior Consulting. The counseling group helps people who have problems controlling their use of the Internet, such as preteens addicted to instant messaging and adults unable to control cyber sex.

On the Internet, fairly standard pornography can lead very quickly into the darker world of teenagers or even younger children. "A lot of guys will say that they didn't start with the teen stuff or the little kid stuff," Delmonico says. "But it became more and more enticing for reasons that they simply were unable to explain."

Bondage sites and bestiality sites. Diapering sites and foot fetish sites. Young teens, hermaphrodites, dirty socks and excessively large organs. Anyone cruising the Internet can find more and more vehicles for arousal.

"People build up a tolerance, it doesn't give them the same high that it did before," Carnes says. So the process from excitement to resolution is thwarted. They need more to get excited and, for those who are compulsively hooked on cyber sex, the gratification of resolution never occurs.

Drew is nearly 40 years old, a married father who lives in Virginia. He is also a recovering sex addict who says he has been helped by Sexual Compulsives Anonymous. When he went online, he says, he was seeking escape from the tedium of daily life, from the depression that haunted him for as long as he could remember.

In one of the few studies of sexual compulsivity, published in 2004 in the Journal of Sex Research, a small sample of 31 self-identified sex addicts received questionnaires and were interviewed, then compared with an age-matched control group.

Although a symptom of depression for most people is decreased interest in sex, the study found that for a small number, including those who consider themselves sex addicts, their interest in sex increased with their depression.

In another study, published in 2003 in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, 9.4% of those who saw themselves as sex addicts reported increased interest in sex when depressed and more than 20% were more interested in sex when they were anxious. In addition, 45% of the self-identified sex addicts described feeling dissociated from their activities, an experience that was often repeated anecdotally.

The findings, though preliminary, have led some clinicians to augment their treatment of sexual compulsion with treatment for depression. And given the fact that one of the side effects of many antidepressants is decreased libido, some clinicians have found that antidepressant medication can also help.

When the emotions overwhelmed Drew, he would click on an Internet icon on his desktop and seek out teenage girls.

"When you are out there and in chat rooms or discussion boards and others are all discussing this as not a big deal, it lowers your resistance to it," he says. "So you are more open to doing other things."

In fact, so desensitized have people become to explicit sexual images from the Internet, that many law enforcement officials or forensic psychologists specializing in sex offender programs have reported that the Internet has created a new dilemma in the field. Phallometric testing had long been a reliable way to measure arousal patterns among sex offenders by showing them erotic images of varying degrees.

But the images no longer have the power to arouse because the offenders are so desensitized by the far more graphic and lurid images that are available on the Internet. "One of the most stunning clinical shifts I have seen is how quickly cyber sex exploration alters arousal," Carnes says.

Intimate Disconnect

Like many behavioral addictions---eating disorders, gambling---cyber sex obsession does not occur in a vacuum. The partner or spouse of someone who is obsessed with Internet sex suffers immeasurable humiliation and anguish.

Phil's wife was shattered by his fascination with the world of online pornography. Initially she thought that his enthrallment with pornography and Internet sex was simply the experimentation of a young and healthy man. But over the years she felt her own self-esteem shrivel as she realized that she could never compete with the Internet.

"I always felt like I was some doll, acting out his fantasies but without any real connection between the two of us," she says.

Weiss of L.A.'s Sexual Recovery Institute says that treatment for people who are sexual compulsives must also include treating an unhealthy relationship.

"A healthy partner would say, 'I'm not sitting around here while you are doing that, I am outta here.' " But instead, many of these partners, in textbook versions of codependence, shield their children from their father's activities "by making sure they ring the bell when coming home, so daddy knows we are here and will stop masturbating in front of the computer," Weiss says.

Therapy and Support

As Internet sex problems have increased, so have treatments.

An alphabet soup of 12-step programs---Sex Addicts Anonymous, Codependents of Sex Addicts, Sexual Compulsives Anonymous---have sprung up to meet the exploding needs. Some preach complete abstinence unless in a married relationship, others chart areas of acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

Clinicians have turned to cognitive behavior therapy, as well as drugs, because there is a long established link between aberrant sexual behavior and depression, anxiety and other emotional disorders.

"We look at our clients who are sex addicts like it is an eating disorder," says Weiss. "Sexual recovery is not not having sex. It is about healthy sexuality and staying within those boundaries."

Four years ago, Phil's wife threatened to leave if he did not get his behavior under control. She then took him to a meeting of Sexual Compulsives Anonymous. He looked around the room and heard stories that made him shudder, both because those who recited them seemed to be such losers, and because he recognized himself.

They are now struggling to pull their lives back together as a couple, going to 12-step meetings of Codependents of Sex Addicts and Sexual Compulsives Anonymous.

Phil cannot access the computer at home, and the television is locked and only his wife has the key. They go to meetings frequently and struggle to claim a normal intimate life. Phil has recently been diagnosed as suffering from bipolar disorder, and acknowledges having struggled with depression, like so many who act out sexually.

Phil's marriage is the most powerful incentive to change that exists.

"If I lose my wife, I won't have anything left to live for," he says, his voice thick with emotion. "My hope is just to make it through the day. Hour to hour. Minute to minute. It's 9 o'clock in the morning and I haven't acted out. There was a time when I would have acted three or four times already. So that gives me hope."

Because of his wife, Phil is one of the very lucky ones. For those who lack such a sustaining or intimate connection, hope will forever compete with a click of a mouse.

Source: LA Times
Date: 26 December 2005

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Penguin Love

With all the hoot about the Oscar winning documentary March of the Penguins, what with a Philippine version narrated by Sharon Cuneta set to be shown, I got reminded of something I read about homosexual behaviors in penguins. Here's an article published in the New York Times in 2005 which I found on the Internet. Read up. It's interesting.

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Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

Squawk and Milou, male chinstrap penguins,
are among several homosexual pairs at the Central Park Zoo
in Manhattan. Homosexual behavior has been documented
in some 450 animal species, one researcher says.

Roy and Silo, two chinstrap penguins at the Central Park Zoo in Manhattan, are completely devoted to each other. For nearly six years now, they have been inseparable. They exhibit what in penguin parlance is called "ecstatic behavior": that is, they entwine their necks, they vocalize to each other, they have sex. Silo and Roy are, to anthropomorphize a bit, gay penguins. When offered female companionship, they have adamantly refused it. And the females aren't interested in them, either.

At one time, the two seemed so desperate to incubate an egg together that they put a rock in their nest and sat on it, keeping it warm in the folds of their abdomens, said their chief keeper, Rob Gramzay. Finally, he gave them a fertile egg that needed care to hatch. Things went perfectly. Roy and Silo sat on it for the typical 34 days until a chick, Tango, was born. For the next two and a half months they raised Tango, keeping her warm and feeding her food from their beaks until she could go out into the world on her own. Mr. Gramzay is full of praise for them.

"They did a great job," he said. He was standing inside the glassed-in penguin exhibit, where Roy and Silo had just finished lunch. Penguins usually like a swim after they eat, and Silo was in the water. Roy had finished his dip and was up on the beach.

Roy and Silo are hardly unusual. Milou and Squawk, two young males, are also beginning to exhibit courtship behavior, hanging out with each other, billing and bowing. Before them, the Central Park Zoo had Georgey and Mickey, two female Gentoo penguins who tried to incubate eggs together. And Wendell and Cass, a devoted male African penguin pair, live at the New York Aquarium in Coney Island. Indeed, scientists have found homosexual behavior throughout the animal world.

This growing body of science has been increasingly drawn into charged debates about homosexuality in American society, on subjects from gay marriage to sodomy laws, despite reluctance from experts in the field to extrapolate from animals to humans. Gay groups argue that if homosexual behavior occurs in animals, it is natural, and therefore the rights of homosexuals should be protected. On the other hand, some conservative religious groups have condemned the same practices in the past, calling them "animalistic."

But if homosexuality occurs among animals, does that necessarily mean that it is natural for humans, too? And that raises a familiar question: if homosexuality is not a choice, but a result of natural forces that cannot be controlled, can it be immoral?

The open discussion of homosexual behavior in animals is relatively new. "There has been a certain cultural shyness about admitting it," said Frans de Waal, whose 1997 book, "Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape" (University of California Press), unleashed a torrent of discussion about animal sexuality. Bonobos, apes closely related to humans, are wildly energetic sexually. Studies show that whether observed in the wild or in captivity, nearly all are bisexual, and nearly half their sexual interactions are with the same sex. Female bonobos have been observed to engage in homosexual activity almost hourly.

Before his own book, "American scientists who investigated bonobos never discussed sex at all," said Mr. de Waal, director of the Living Links Center of the Yerkes Primate Center at Emory University in Atlanta. "Or they sometimes would show two females having sex together, and would say, `The females are very affectionate.' "

Then in 1999, Bruce Bagemihl published "Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity" (St. Martin's Press), one of the first books of its kind to provide an overview of scholarly studies of same-sex behavior in animals. Mr. Bagemihl said homosexual behavior had been documented in some 450 species. (Homosexuality, he says, refers to any of these behaviors between members of the same sex: long-term bonding, sexual contact, courtship displays or the rearing of young.) Last summer the book was cited by the American Psychiatric Association and other groups in a "friend of the court" brief submitted to the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas, a case challenging a Texas anti-sodomy law. The court struck down the law.

"Sexual Exuberance" was also cited in 2000 by gay rights groups opposed to Ballot Measure 9, a proposed Oregon statute prohibiting teaching about homosexuality or bisexuality in public schools. The measure lost.

In his book Mr. Bagemihl describes homosexual activity in a broad spectrum of animals. He asserts that while same-sex behavior is sometimes found in captivity, it is actually seen more frequently in studies of animals in the wild.

Among birds, for instance, studies show that 10 to 15 percent of female western gulls in some populations in the wild are homosexual. Females perform courtship rituals, like tossing their heads at each other or offering small gifts of food to each other, and they establish nests together. Occasionally they mate with males and produce fertile eggs but then return to their original same-sex partners. Their bonds, too, may persist for years.

Among mammals, male and female bottlenose dolphins frequently engage in homosexual activity, both in captivity and in the wild. Homosexuality is particularly common among young male dolphin calves. One male may protect another that is resting or healing from wounds inflicted by a predator. When one partner dies, the other may search for a new male mate. Researchers have noted that in some cases same-sex behavior is more common for dolphins in captivity.

Male and female rhesus macaques, a type of monkey, also exhibit homosexuality in captivity and in the wild. Males are affectionate to each other, touching, holding and embracing. Females smack their lips at each other and play games like hide-and-seek, peek-a-boo and follow the leader. And both sexes mount members of their own sex.

Paul L. Vasey, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Lethbridge in Canada, who studies homosexual behavior in Japanese macaques, is editing a new book on homosexual behavior in animals, to be published by Cambridge University Press. This kind of behavior among animals has been observed by scientists as far back as the 1700's, but Mr. Vasey said one reason there had been few books on the topic was that "people don't want to do the research because they don't want to have suspicions raised about their sexuality."

Some scientists say homosexual behavior in animals is not necessarily about sex. Marlene Zuk, a professor of biology at the University of California at Riverside and author of "Sexual Selections: What We Can and Can't Learn About Sex From Animals" (University of California Press, 2002), notes that scientists have speculated that homosexuality may have an evolutionary purpose, ensuring the survival of the species. By not producing their own offspring, homosexuals may help support or nurture their relatives' young. "That is a contribution to the gene pool," she said.

For Janet Mann, a professor of biology and psychology at Georgetown University, who has studied same-sex behavior in dolphin calves, their homosexuality "is about bond formation," she said, "not about being sexual for life."

She said that studies showed that adult male dolphins formed long-term alliances, sometimes in large groups. As adults, they cooperate to entice a single female and keep other males from her. Sometimes they share the female, or they may cooperate to help one male. "Male-male cooperation is extremely important," Ms. Mann said. The homosexual behavior of the young calves "could be practicing" for that later, crucial adult period, she added.

But, scientists say, just because homosexuality is observed in animals doesn't mean that it is only genetically based. "Homosexuality is extraordinarily complex and variable," Mr. Bagemihl said. "We look at animals as pure biology and pure genetics, and they are not." He noted that "the occurrence of same-sex behavior in animals provides support for the nurture side as well." He cited as an example the ruff, a type of Arctic sandpiper. There are four different classes of male ruffs, each differing from the others genetically. The two that differ most from each other are most similar in their homosexual behaviors.

Ms. Zuk said, "You have inclinations that are more or less supported by our genes and in some environmental circumstances get expressed." She used the analogy of right- or left-handedness, thought to be genetically based. "But you can teach naturally left-handed children to use their right hand," she pointed out.

Still, scientists warn about drawing conclusions about humans. "For some people, what animals do is a yardstick of what is and isn't natural," Mr. Vasey said. "They make a leap from saying if it's natural, it's morally and ethically desirable."

But he added: "Infanticide is widespread in the animal kingdom. To jump from that to say it is desirable makes no sense. We shouldn't be using animals to craft moral and social policies for the kinds of human societies we want to live in. Animals don't take care of the elderly. I don't particularly think that should be a platform for closing down nursing homes."

Mr. Bagemihl is also wary of extrapolating. "In Nazi Germany, one very common interpretation of homosexuality was that it was animalistic behavior, subhuman," he said.

What the animal studies do show, Ms. Zuk observed, is that "sexuality is a lot broader term than people want to think."

"You have this idea that the animal kingdom is strict, old-fashioned Roman Catholic," she said, "that they have sex just to procreate."

In bonobos, she noted, "you see expressions of sex outside the period when females are fertile. Suddenly you are beginning to see that sex is not necessarily about reproduction."

"Sexual expression means more than making babies," Ms. Zuk said. "Why are we surprised? People are animals."

Monday, August 14, 2006

Jeep Hunk 01

What better way to start the week but with a dose of real-life hunks of the streets. I've always wanted to do a series that showcases hunks of the ordinary kind. I mean those kind that you'd actually bump into while walking in the street. Or in this case, sit across in the jeep.

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Here are the goodies.

I know these are naughty. I could'nt help it!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Career Shift Ideas

Are you tired of your job? Here are some ideas you might want to try out if you want to shift careers. Keep your mind open though. In a world of highly-specialized professionals, there's no such thing as a quirky skill. The employment market is free for all.

Earlier I blogged about Alanis Morissette's song Crazy which talks about the necessity to be nuts to survive in this equally crazy world. If you think you're crazy enough, quit your job and try these odd careers:

Top Seven Quirky Jobs

1. In-grown Specialist

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What they do: Cut in-grown toe nails. In-grown Specialists are manicurists or pedicurist with an extensive experience in dealing with in-grown toe nails. They are sort of like an equivalent of a PhD or a doctor of Medicine specializing in a specific area of study. In-grown toe nails are especially difficult to cut. Non-experts may end up injuring clients. You may work in established salons that offer pedicure and manicure or you can work at home or do home service.

What you need: If you have a foot fetish or just simply love the smell of feet, this is the career for you. In addition to your experience as a manicurist or pedicurist, you will need to attend seminars on in-grown nail science which the Institute of Nail Science (INS) offers regularly for a minimum fee. A seminar program takes 5 whole-day sessions, each session devoted to each toes of the feet. You will also get a free in-grown nail kikay kit and a foot-sized certification from INS.

What it pays: If you plan to work at home, you can charge each client PhP 150 for home service and PhP 100 if they call you in at home. You can expect tips as well from satisfied clients. But of course if you can brandish your INS certification to your clients’ face, you can charge more.

2. Corpse Tagging Agent

What they do: Tag the remains of people for identification. They also keep records of the corpse in morgues, and do hourly attendance checks just in case any of them runs off at night or gets snatched by some crazed necrophiliac.

What you need: It will be to your advantage if you have a degree in Library Science or Accounting. Knowledge of cataloging, bookkeeping, classification, and alphabetizing are requisites. You will also need to have a strong gut to stick that tag on the corpse's toe. You should be willing to work in 8-hour shifts and work graveyard, figuratively and literally.

What it pays: It doesn't pay much. But just imagine what you can do during 8-hour shifts in a room full of dead people. You can write a book. Or surf the internet. Or put up a small carinderia and serve dinuguan and puto. The possibilities are endless.

3. Professional Demographics Provider

What they do: Answer survey questions, attend focus group discussions, be case study subjects.

What you need: You need to be able to read and write and be very creative. A hint of schizophrenia will also take you a long way. The key to landing jobs in this career is your ability to imagine yourself in the shoes of different people. The more personas you can create, the more jobs you'll get.

What it pays: If you become a case study or FGD subject, you are guaranteed at least a snack of Zesto and Goldilocks mamon or ensaymada. Sessions like this last an hour to half a day depending on the topic. If you're resourceful enough and hardworking, you can get at least two FGD sessions a day which could tide you over two snacks and a lunch.

4. Mobile Shade Support

What they do: Provide instant shade to protect pedestrians from the rain or the heat of the sun. Mobile Shade Providers are hits in places that don't have waiting sheds or during unexpected rains when most pedestrians didn't bring their rain gears.

What you need: You need a huge umbrella or several umbrella hats. All you have to do is stand in areas with heavy foot traffic and under the sun or during rainy season. In case of the latter, you will also need a heavy-duty raincoat for yourself and rain boots. The idea is to keep your clients from getting wet, either by their own sweat because of the sun or by rain or flood. Be prepared to carry your clients on your back when there is flood.

What it pays: You can charge a minimum of five pesos and add an increment of three pesos per meter depending on where your client wants to go. You can charge an extra 5 pesos if your client asks you to get him a cab.

5. Textbook Model

What they do: Pose for pictures to be included in textbooks. Be prepared to pose nude or have private parts of your body photographed for a Biology book. You might also be opened up for internal shots, i.e. photos of your heart, lungs, brain, etc. may be taken.

What you need: Unless you're posing for a textbook on diseases, you just need to have a healthy body. You will also need to know that your body, internal organs and all, might be the first naked body to be seen by millions of young students.

What it pays: Textbook models are not paid much, if paid at all. But the experience will be a good addition to your portfolio if you're an aspiring internal organ model.

Note: I work for a textbook publishing company. I can audition you if you are interested. hehehehehehe

6. Porn Reviewer

What they do: Watch porn and say what they think about them. Talk about doing what they love the most!

What you need: You need a DVD or VCD player, a TV, and your own room. You also need to purchase padlocks so you can seal your door from inside. The hazard of this job is that you can't tell your mom about it, much less have her catch you at it.

What it pays: It pays PhP 500 to PhP 1000 pesos per review. Not bad for a perfect mix of pleasure and work.

Note: This article's inspired by the Five Unusual Work-From-Home Jobs by Candace Corner, writer.


By Alanis Morissette

In a church by the face
He talks about the people going under
Only child knows...

A man decides after seventy years
That what he goes there for, is to unlock the door,
While those around him criticize and sleep...
And through a fractal on a breaking wall,
I see you my friend and touch your face again,
Miracles will happen as we dream

But we're never gonna survive unless
We get a little crazy
No we're never gonna survive unless
We are a little...

Crazy yellow people walking through my head.
One of them's got a gun, shoot the other one.
And yet together they were friends at school
Ohh, get it, get it, get it, no no no!

If I were there when we first took the pill,
Then maybe, then maybe, then maybe, then maybe...
Miracles will happen as we speak.

No no, we'll never survive, unless we get a little...bit...

In a sky full of people, only some want to fly.
Isn't that crazy?
In a world full of people, only some want to fly.
Isn't that crazy?


In a heaven of people there's only some want to fly.
Ain't that crazy? Crazy, crazy... crazy...

No no, we'll never survive unless, we get a little bit...

Note: If you want to listen to this song, you may download this from MrDJs site. Search for the song on the search window.


I wonder if Alanis meant something like this:

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Crazy Party Mama

Crazy Over Turkey

Crazy Goggles

Crazy Man Pissing on Bush

Just Plain Crazy (Plain Nuts)

What kind of crazy are you?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Are You Overweight?

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We've just had our physical exam around two weeks ago and they released the results late last week. The verdict? Well aside from those that I already know (like my hypertension and impaired glucose tolerance), the recommendation in the result sheet says that I am overweight. Gad! Where'd they get that? I assume that because I work out that it's the muscle mass that gave me all the weight. I guess being fat and overweight are two different things. Gad! I go to the gym everyday and this is what the doctor tells me. I hate the weight talk. Things like this make for a perfect excuse for people to get eating disorders.

OT Anyone?

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Not all forwarded emails are junk. If you look harder, there are gems like this one I got this morning:

Narayana Murthy is one of AIM’s board of trustees. A few years back, when he addressed graduating students, he not only stressed the importance of hard work, but also why we should go home on time. Mr. Narayana Murthy is undoubtedly one of the most famous persons from Karnataka. He is known not just for building the biggest IT empire in India but also for his simplicity. Almost every important dignitary visits Infosys campus. He delivered an interesting speech during an employee session with another IT company in India . He is incidentally, one of the top 50 influential people of Asia according to an Asiaweek publication and also the new IT advisor to the Thailand Prime Minister. Here is an extract of Mr. Narayana Murthy’s speech during the mentor session:

I know people who work 12 hours a day, six days a week, or more. Some people do so because of a work emergency where the long hours are only temporary. Other people I know have put in these hours for years. I don't know if they are working all these hours, but I do know they are in the office this long. Others put in long office hours because they are addicted to the workplace. Whatever the reason for putting in overtime, working long hours over the long term is harmful to the person and to the organization. There are things managers can do to change this for everyone's benefit. Being in the office long hours, over long periods of time, makes way for potential errors. My colleagues who are in the office long hours frequently make mistakes caused by fatigue. Correcting these mistakes requires their time as well as the time and energy of others. I have seen people work Tuesday through Friday to correct mistakes made after 5 PM on Monday. Another problem is that people who are in the office long hours are not pleasant company. They often complain about other people (who aren’t working as hard); they are irritable, or cranky, or even angry. Other people avoid them. Such behavior poses problems, where work goes much better when people work together instead of avoiding one another. As managers, there are things we can do to help people leave the office. First and foremost is to set the example and go home ourselves. I work with a manager who chides people for working long hours. His words quickly lose their meaning when he sends these chiding group e-mails with a time-stamp of 2 AM, Sunday. Second is to encourage people to put some balance in their lives. For instance, here is a guideline I find helpful:1) Wake up, eat a good breakfast, and go to work.2) Work hard and smart for eight or nine hours.3) Go home.4) Read the books/comics, watch a funny movie, dig in the dirt, play with your kids, etc.5) Eat well and sleep well. This is called recreating. Doing steps 1, 3, 4, and 5 enable step 2. Working regular hours and recreating daily are simple concepts. They are hard for some of us because that requires ‘personal change’. They are possible since we all have the power to choose to do them. In considering the issue of overtime, I am reminded of my oldest son. When he was a toddler, if people were visiting the apartment, he would not fall asleep no matter how long the visit, and no matter what time of day it was. He would fight off sleep until the visitors left. It was as if he was afraid that he would miss something. Once our visitors left, he would go to sleep. By this time, however, he was over tired and would scream through half the night with nightmares. He, my wife, and I, all paid the price for his fear of missing out. Perhaps some people put in such long hours because they don't want to miss anything when they leave the office. The trouble with this is that events will never stop happening. That is life!! Things happen 24 hours a day. Allowing for little rest is not ultimately practical. So, take a nap. Things will happen while you're asleep, but you will have the energy to catch up when you wake. Hence, LOVE YOUR JOB, BUT NEVER FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR COMPANY BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN THE COMPANY STOPS LOVING YOU.