Close encounter of a different kind

If you looked up the Cebu sky last night, you’d have the crap scared out of you. At least seven balls of light were clearly visible in a linear formation (if you squint hard enough and connect the dots, it could be the Grim Reaper’s scythe.) The lights were stationary and stayed visible for minutes.

Text messages were being sent around, asking people to look up the sky. I ran to our office’s canteen and saw the lights for myself. It was eerie and beautiful. (Click on the photo to view the larger image.) Across the street, people were stopping to look at it. I couldn’t make out their faces, whether they showed awe or fear or fascination.

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How to eat a suman or why Dennis Rodman walked out

Can somebody tell me why organizers didn’t just serve Dennis Rodman’s suman without the banana wrapping? Basketball’s Bad Boy reportedly got mad yesterday when, after being served the glutinous rice delicacy, he ate it including the banana leaf wrapper.

Rodman is in Cebu for The Bad Boy Tour. He was scheduled to play at the Mandaue City Sports Complex last night in the NBA Legends vs. San Miguel All Stars matchup.

News of the walkout was all over the newsroom yesterday. I never got to talk to the reporters and photographers who were present during the press conference snubbed by the former Chicago Bulls and Pistons standout but this was confirmed by several sources.

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Pity the policemen

It seems having sex during anti-prostitution raids is a sacrifice for them. Chief Insp. Romeo Perigo of the Cebu Provincial Police Office says so. Provincial Prosecutor Jane Petralba, however, says police should stop having sex in anti-prostitution raids because they are “not only exposing their butts, but also (themselves) to criminal case for having sex with these prostitutes.”

Fatal song

Supreme Court Associate Justice Renato Corona warned judges over the weekend not to sing Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” in karaoke bars. The song has been blamed for a lot of karaoke-related killings in the Philippines.

Corona made the statement when asked to comment on the suggestion of arming judges after the recent killing of Pasay Judge Henrick Guingoyon.

Many people have been killed while singing My Way in karaoke bars. The song, an English translation of a French tune, is a favorite in karaoke bars (at least in those that I used to frequent when I was still with The Freeman ages ago). Ironically, the song is also said to be a favorite in funerals.

I recall reading at least three stories on killings in karaoke bars in Cebu but, save for one, I’m no longer sure which songs so enraged the suspects so as to kill their victims. In February 2004, a man singing the “Spaghetti Song” in Moalboal town was shot. In December 2001, a man was killed in Lapu-Lapu City, where I live, after two customers ganged up on him for hogging the microphone.

Socialists and winos: the year in media errors and corrections

Regret The Error has published its annual roundup of top media errors and corrections. Its top correction of the year went to Denver Daily News’ apology for calling New Jersey ‘Jew Jersey.’

The typo of the year went to Reuters for reporting the recall of 94,400 pounds of ground beef panties.

First runner-up is Dallas Morning News for this correction:

Norma Adams-Wade’s June 15 column incorrectly called Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk a socialist. She is a socialite.

Second runner up was the Liverpool Daily News for the replacement of WNO (Welsh National Opera) with winos, because of an error in the use of a spell checker.

In pope-related errors, the Daily Press in Virginia had to apologize for quoting then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as saying during Pope John Paul II’s funeral: “Today we bury his remains in the earth as a seed of immorality.”

Check out the full listing of top media errors and corrections by clicking this link.

Bringing down the government, a CIA manual

I found this interesting link, via del.icio.us, to a photoset in Flickr purported to be reproductions of a Central Intelligence Agency booklet distributed as part of a campaign to destabilize the Nicaraguan government and economic system.

I don’t know if the booklet is authentic or one of those hoaxes that get passed around but it makes for an interesting read. Among the items in the booklet, which was said to have been printed in Spanish and English, are: Obstruct roads with trees, rocks or ditches; threaten the boss by phone, phone in false fire alarms and bomb threats; put nails under car tires or on roads, cut the cables of telephones and alarm systems.

Here’s a reproduction of one of the pages:
CIA manual?

Deferred success my gluteus maximus

An association of teachers had considered a proposal to use “deferred success” as euphemism for “fail.”

According to the Global Language Monitor: “The Professional Association of Teachers in the UK considered a proposal to replace any notion of failure with deferred success in order to bolster students self-esteem.”

Among the euphemisms spotted this year are: misguided criminals for terrorist (used by the BBC); thought shower or word shower for brainstorm so as not to offend those with brain disorders; womyn for women; and Happy Holidays and Seasons Greetings in place of Christmas greetings containing the word Christmas.

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Cafe chain pushes censorship body for Philippine Internet

Please excuse me while I puke.

Netopia, according to this Inq7.net article, is “urging” the government to create a censorship body to monitor the local Internet infrastructure. An official of the Internet cafe chain says the body “will operate similarly to the Movies Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) and provide guidelines for the compliance of Internet service providers.”

Netopia President Raymond Ricafort told Inq7.net: “The government can discourage users from visiting indecent web sites in the same manner that they discourage adult films.”

Mr. Ricafort, if the government will discourage us from visiting sites in the same manner that they have been labeling certain films as “for adults only” then we’re fucked. And how, in Torquemada’s name, can you impose “decency” in the local Web infrastructure? By playing Big Brother and monitoring the traffic? How will you “prevent pornographic materials from being distributed through local ISPs?”

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Weasley clock for muggles

If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter series, you’d be familiar with the wall clock used by the Weasley family. It doesn’t tell the time but location of members of the Weasley family.

I don’t know how true this report is but Gizmodo quotes a report from phoneyworld.com that researchers are working on a similar contraption (there’s even a photo in the site) using GPS to get the location data from family members’ cellphones.

Microsoft researchers are working on a wall mounted display wich will allow busy families to keep track of each other. Researchers have christened it as the “whereabout clock”. They agree to being partially inspired by Harry Potter novels. The whereabout clock’s screen uses icons bearing the faces of each family member. Signals from their mobile phones are used to tell the computer where they are and the icons wander between colored segments to show whether they are at home, school, work or elsewhere.

No wonder the traffic lights went crazy

Seven employees of the Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) were fired on Thursday on suspicion that they sabotaged the city’s traffic system.

The traffic lights in the city went crazy last week, Sun.Star Cebu reports. The “traffic lights changed simultaneously. For example, vehicles at all four ends of an intersection would get a go signal all at the same time, instead of one after the other.”