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Location: Mandaluyong, Philippines

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Local Columnist, Jessica Zafra's Thought on Piracy

Does anyone else find it funny that people who make much more money than we do are appealing to us not to deprive them of their income? You have the nerve to charge me P450 for a CD that is being sold on the street for P60 and you expect my sympathy? The campaign against pirated software, CD's, VCD's, audio and cassettes, would have us believe that piracy is our problem. Really? How is shelling out P100 for a disc that contains P50,000 worth of software a problem for me? It would seem that the pirates are doing me, and my shrinking wallet a big favor. Why should it bother me that a movie which has not yet opened in Metro Manila theatres is being peddled on VCD on Ayala Avenue for P90? I have no fights with the pirates. They are selling me information I might otherwise not have access to because of prohibitive costs. Yes they are thieves and thieves should be punished, are not stealing from me. Oh sure, you can lecture me about in the long run I will pay for buying bootleg but by then I will have used the information for my benefit. So let me make a correction. Piracy is the problem of the manufacturers - the software houses, record companies, and motion picture companies - whom I shall refer to from hereon as the corporations. By telling us not to buy pirated materials "for the good of everyone", corporations make it appear that corporate interests and the public interest are the same thing. This is unlaughably untrue. Corporations makes noise about working in the public interest - these noises are called public relations, PR - but their duty is to their owners. The anti-piracy ads, which their appeals to my virtue, pass the responsibility of combating piracy to me. HELLO. They invoke the law and call on my conscience to protect their profit margin, I shell out P450 for a CD that turns out to be crap, I can't invoke the law, and corporations have no conscience. We may all be equal under the law, but they have the best lawyers. I guess their complaints are valid because they stand to lose more money, while I'm just a sucker who bought the promotional hype.

The anti-piracy campaign says that when we buy unauthorized copies a.k.a. bootleg we are stealing from the creators of the music, movies or computer programs. This would be the case if the proceeds of the sales went to artist themselves. We know that the artists get a small royalty; most of the money goes to the corporations. They profit from the work of the artists dry. Their excuses is for a small royalty, they can suck the artists dry. Their excuse is that they spent vast sums of money on the marketing of the artists' work. In short, the season "originals" cost so much is because the huge marketing expenses are passed on to us. Why should we finance the ridiculous costs of hype? When you buy bootleg, you deny the artist a couple of bucks but you stick it to the corporation, which is so rich it won't even say ouch. I find it hard to summon up any sympathy for a multi-million dollar entity that does business in 100 countries. Awww, the poor corporations, their executives won't be buying personal Lear jets this quarter. Buying bootleg has a Robin Hood appeal; Rob the rich to give the poor, meaning you. It's the opposite of jueteng, in which robs the poor in order to give to the rich.

The corporations are laying a massive guilt trip on consumers when they should be working to make their products less easy to steal. With the technology we have, it is extremely to make high-quality copies of anything. In the past we worried that the bootleg goods could damage our electronic equipment; today's fake CD's are almost exactly like the originals. While the corporations are piracy-proofing their wares, maybe they should cut us a break and drop their prices. The pirates have shown that it is possible to make CD's cheaper. Take the hint, and spare us the sob stories about high marketing costs and your dwindling profits.

I don't buy pirated software - not just because pirates don't usually do Mac programs but because I love my Mac. But I cannot tell PC users not to buy bootleg software when it costs one-fiftieth the price of the original. Caveat emptor, naturally, and the fake software may cause their PC's to crash but PC's do that anyway. Hey doesn't the idea of killing Bill Gates of .0000000000000000(add more zeroes)1 of his income appeal to you? Look at him, the guy's rolling in money, but he won't spend for a proper haircut. Besides, If you really want to quibble over it, didn't Bill Gates and Steve Jobs borrow information form the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center? Cut the crap, and stop appealing in my good nature. It is not my job to protect your interests. The pirates are sleazy, but they have inadvertently raised the possibility of a future in which the artists reaches her audience directly, without a corporate middleman. Think of a future in which you profit from your ideas. Not bloody likely right but it's a good thought.

Superman: Birthright inker, Gerry Alanguilan, reacting to the piracy issues in comics (from the Alamat Comics mailing list):

actually most of us criticize a book especially if we didn't buy it, but a lot of people won;t even admit that. how many of you have criticize rob liefeld, or any other artist. haven't you criticize someone elses work though you didn't buy it? i buy the books i really want.and yes i do criticize the books i also buy. and of course if you don't buy a well publicize book beacuse you have issues with it also.

if i see something else i really like that i have seen from this programs or online (haven't started yet, though someone here mentioned that he already done it), sure as hell i'm going to look for it. i see lots of comic stuff in the web especially on, but some of this stuff are not availabale anymore, so what do i do? and furthermore i don't even have the finances to buy everything i want. and by the way i like reading my comics the old fashion way too. i have lost a lot of comics already, i have read them and know the stories but if i have the money i'm going to buy them again.

and people will lose their jobs? sorry i dont even believe that not in this lifetime. direct market, foil covers, speculators and collectors did that and the oh so flavors of the month like quitely and other soooo important artist., remember the betamax issue, the vhs then the cd's?there was a lot of arguments that the movie/music industry would suffer, but did it suffer? file sharing creates more buzz if the stuff is really good, that will help a lot in making people buy their stuff, call it an advertising of sort, or promotion. i know you won't agree with this but IMHO.

dc++ is just similar to napster, imesh, kazaa and other file sharing programs. it won't bring the downfall of any industry, the thing is it even helps the indies/underground and promote works which are not supported by a giant industry. the downfall of the industry was the fault of the publishers themselves, it began with dc, then marvel then image and other stuff mentioned, most of us know the story.

and what is the difference with online flash comics being done by marvel and crossgen against filesharing? well for one thing, the books are still available and heavily promoted and you can buy this stuff for the new way. i have bought some that i have already read online. but what of the comics that were said to besoo good but you and i haven't been able to see because you were not born yet? and furthermore out of print? no trades no reprint and are not considered moneymakers by the publishers?

again, i have known about dc++ a long time ago but haven't used it yet, but i have seen lots of stuff online that i do want to see/read,but i wont be able to buy anymore. what do i do?

Ner P

Then why use John Romita's quote as a sig if you didn't believe or support it? Personally, I don't agree with the quote. If I read a book or comic and I didn't buy it, I think have the right to critique it. By using it as a sig, I had assumed you agreed with it.

If a particular comic is no longer available, then by all means, you know? Download it. To me that's allright. But comics being talked about recently here that's being downloaded are STILL available at your local Powerbooks, Filbars, Comicquest, etc. Even I am not immune to this. For a long time I used a photocopy version of Andrew Loomis's Figure Drawing simply because the book is out of print. There is an online version of it that I freely promote. But once it becomes available again, I take the link down, and I buy my own copy.

What if you can't afford it? Well if you want a Big Mac at McDonalds and you don't have the money to pay for it, you don't go to the kitchen when no one is looking and stuff a couple in your bag before bolting out of there do you? Same thing with comics. If you can't afford it, then don't justify stealing so you can read it. You can always borrow it from people willing to. You can always hang around Powerbooks all day and read it there.

I don't think it's right to justify the music industry, the movie industry, the video industry to comics. Why? Because those industries are HUGE. A CD, movie, video sell in the millions. How about comics? 5,000? 10,000? What if 2000 of those suddenly decided to just download them instead of buying them? You can bet that book will be cancelled. And books have already BEEN cancelled left and right. The comics industry is currently in GREAT danger. The last thing it needs is less people buying comics. You're not convinced that people are not using jobs in this business? I can name at least 50 creators who was working regularly 5 years ago who are just getting by with a few jobs here and there or are not working in comics anymore.

The ad/promotion aspect of it is a bit cloudy to me. You have already downloaded the comic. It's already in your posession. What use will it be as an "ad" or an incentive for you to buy the comic if you already have it? An AD is supposed to just give you a taste of what the product is, not the entire product itself. However, a lot of companies and individual creators indeed offer WHOLE issues for you to download. Since this is offered by them freely, then there's no problem with that.

I only have issues with downloading comics that are still widely available, which the companies or creators are NOT offering for free online.

I think all this discussion about comics piracy is nothing more than trying to justify an act which is at it's very base...stealing. I certainly hope that people don't lose sight of this. There may be a lot of justification being floated around for just downloading comics rather than buying it...but please don't go around deluding yourselves that you are doing the RIGHT thing. Because you're not.

People who work in comics do so because they love doing it. But for them to continue doing it, they would love to make a living at it as well. Downloading their work rather than buying them, helps deprive them of the means to continue doing what they love.

Many of you are writers or artists here. I think you have a lot in stake at what's happening. Your ideas are more important to you than mere material property. If someone steals your cellphone, your tech pen, or your CD, so what? You can buy another. But if it's your IDEAS that are stolen, then that is different. A part of yourself, a part of your soul is being stolen and I for one will be sorely indignant about it, not only for myself but for other artists.


Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Prayer In My Life
By Walt Disney

Every person has his own ideas of the act of praying for God's guidance, tolerance and mercy to fulfill his duties and responsibilities. My own concept of prayer is not a plea for special favors, nor as a quick palliation for wrongs knowingly committed. A prayer, it seems to me, implies a promise as well as a request; at the highest level, prayer not only is supplication for strength and guidance, but also becomes an affirmation of life and thus a reverent praise of God.

Deeds rather than words express my concept of the part religion should play in everyday life. I have watched constantly that in our movie work the highest moral and spiritual standards are upheld, whether it deals with fable or with stories of living action. This religious concern for the form and content of our films goes back 40 years to the rugged financial period in Kansas City when I was struggling to establish a film company and produce animated fairy tales. Thus, whatever success I have had in bringing clean, informative entertainment to people of all ages, I attribute in great part to my Congregational upbringing and lifelong habit of prayer.

To me, today at age 61, all prayer by the humble or highly placed has one thing in common: supplication for strength and inspiration to carry on the best impulses which should bind us together for a better world. Without such inspiration we would rapidly deteriorate and finally perish. But in our troubled times, the right of men to think and worship as their conscience dictates is being sorely pressed. We can retain these privileges only by being constantly on guard in fighting off any encroachment on these precepts. To retreat from any of the principles handed down by our forefathers, who shed their blood for the ideals we all embrace, would be a complete victory for those who would destroy liberty and justice for the individual.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Don't Mach 3 the goatee
Peter Kimmich
Contributing Columnist

A phenomenon occurred about a month ago that will never occur again in human history. No one expected it. It could have been foreseen, but no one was looking. The contributing factors were these:
It was a slow day at work. I was there, and so were three other guys I work with. There was one girl, who I also work with. Now, all of this does not seem strange enough to cause any sort of phenomenon (unless the phenomenon was that the guys would have had a chance of winning a girls-against-guys volleyball match), but there was one other factor- the deciding cause of the occurrence. Here it is.

All of the guys there had goatees.

It sounds crazy, I know. But it's true. There is a wave of facial hair hitting college-age guys, and it's not the kind of wave you can surf on. That would be kind of gross.

No, this wave is a metaphorical one. It's the latest form of self-expression that is not sold at Gap stores for $199.99. It's the current hair "thing." Now that longhairs are becoming scarcer (I think one served me a salad a couple of days ago), people are seeking a cleaner, more girlfriend-friendly form of self-differentiation.

There are several good reasons to have a goatee. It looks cool. It makes shaving your chin unnecessary. It becomes appropriate to place one hand thoughtfully upon your chin and say, "hmmm."

Try it, guys. "Hmmm."

If you have a goatee, you probably just grabbed someone's attention and caused him or her to say, "What a thoughtful lad." If you don't, someone probably just thought, "He must be reading Peter's column." (That's the same as saying, "He must not be a very thoughtful lad.")

Hey girls, would you rather date a thoughtful person or someone who gets wayward ideas from my column? (It is assumed here that all girls who read my column are thoughtful by nature.)

In fact, goatees (or "goats," which is even cooler) seem to be directly associated with greatness. Zeus is sometimes depicted with one.

Kurt Cobain had one for a while. I could point out that I have one, but that would be smug of me.

Oops, I just did.

There are exceptions to the rule, though. (Not referring to myself here.) For example, every single member of the Houston Astros has a "goat," but that does not change the fact that they should be abandoned on an island somewhere.

Having a goatee may be a sign of intelligence and distinction, but there are serious downfalls.

1. People you know hardly recognize you. This can be illustrated by a personal experience concerning a girl I know:

Peter: "Hey, what's up?"

Girl: "Whoa, I hardly recognized you."

2. If your goatee gets way out of control, your neighbors may attempt to weed-whack it. (Note: This could just be your neighbors.)

3. There is at least one boy band out there with at least one member who has a goatee. But he isn't cool.

Despite such exceptions, a goatee will be the mark of intellect, class and style until such time as I no longer have one. Then I'll probably write a column disparaging them. Until then, if you have the honor of being a "goater," feel free to ponder at will, your fingers placed shrewdly upon your chin. If nothing else, you may become the subject for an award-winning sculpture or something.

Peter Kimmich can be reached at:

The Merciful God of Prophecy by Tim F. Lahaye
Book Review by by Frederica Mathewes-Green

Since they debuted their after-the-Rapture thriller series a decade or so ago, Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins have not aimed their "Left Behind" books at pleasing the sophisticated elite, the so-called "chattering classes." It's not great lit, and doesn't pretend to be. (Personally, I gave up a few pages into the first volume, when a character was introduced this way: "His coworkers called him Buck, because he was always bucking the rules.")

But the idea behind the series is nothing if not gripping. After all the faithful Christians are sucked up into heaven, leaving jewelry and deflated clothes on the chairs they occupied moments before, the rest of the world is left behind to watch the Antichrist martial his forces for the final battle between good and evil. Many people find the novels, with titles like "Desecration" and "The Mark of the Beast" hard to put down, even if they want to. In fact, some people find them frightening in a mesmerizing way, like a roller coaster. If all that LaHaye and Jenkins are saying is true, then some very big things are at stake; life on earth has more meaning than we expected, and both great dangers and great rewards lie ahead. Some accept this with equanimity, but others find it terrifying. Call them the "chattering-teeth class."

Tim LaHaye has written his new book, "The Merciful God of Prophecy," for exactly that category of reader, in an attempt to reassure them that God is merciful. There is not a little irony in LaHaye's taking up this campaign, which on one level is akin to a person leaping out of the dark shouting "Boo," only to reassure us that the dark is nothing to be afraid of.

LaHaye's belief in the "Rapture," after all, is not one shared by most Christians. It isn't even a belief that has deep roots in Christian history, but is a relatively recent way of interpreting several Scripture verses, and one that LaHaye and Jenkins are responsible for disseminating. While many Christians stop to ask why the "plain meaning of Scripture" would be so obscure that for most of history devout believers failed to perceive it, or why the majority of believers today still are not convinced, many readers of Left Behind might assume this is basic Christianity.

The "prophecy" part of his book aside, however, LaHaye does marvelously well with part about "the merciful God." He begins by addressing readers who associate prophesied events with a God who is angry and longs to punish us. Indeed, many people outside Christian faith, and a few uninformed ones inside, think that this is the kind of God Christianity preaches, one who hates his creation and delights in torturing it. "One who rubs his hands together and grins each time we fail, thereby earning his angry judgment," as LaHaye puts it.

On the contrary, LaHaye insists, God loves us and is seeking to save us from the judgment ahead. Well, if that's the case, some might say, why not skip the judgement altogether? "While many name 'Judge not, lest ye be judged' as their favorite Bible verse, Jesus clearly did not mean that we should consider all behavior equally acceptable," LaHaye says. LaHaye insists that we humans are never invited to be judgmental toward others; we merely recognize that everyone will be judged by God one day. There is, after all, injustice in the world; there are acts of violence and cruelty that go unpunished in this lifetime. If God is righteous, it means that in his Kingdom all wrongs will be made right. Would we want it any other way? Put that way, we can see how judgment is the just flip side of love toward those who have been wronged.

The hard part of this equation is that we all have done wrong things; everyone deserves to be judged for something. The fact that we could finger-point at someone else who wronged us does not put our misdeeds right. Judgment is inevitable for everybody, says LaHaye, and it's coming soon to someone at your address.

This is the tricky balance, between God's inevitable judgment and his unending mercy. It takes LaHaye a whole book to get it across fully, but he does so very capably. The warnings of tribulation to come are indeed frightening, he says, but they are for your own good, just as if a park ranger ran up to your campsite yelling that a forest fire was heading your way. In passage after passage, drawn from Scripture, personal stories, and anecdotes from church history, LaHaye presents a satisfyingly complete and compelling portrait of the God who loves his creation and longs above all to show it mercy.

People who think Christianity is all about scolding and hand-slapping, then, are in for a surprise. Non-Christians who would like an in-their-own-words introduction to the Christian God will find here one that is both winning and inviting. LaHaye writes from an evangelical Protestant perspective, and although I am an Eastern Orthodox Christian, I found his description of the loving God well compatible with my beliefs; I expect that Roman Catholic brothers and sisters would say the same.

LaHaye has a passionate love of Scriptural prophecy. There are those of us who are skeptical when he states that there are at least 1000 such points in the Bible, half of which have already been literally fulfilled. (The other half still lie ahead-by his guess, in the very near future-and he is thrilled with the possibilities unfolding ahead.) But our hesitation is not materially relevant to appreciation of LaHaye's book. He writes as someone in his mid-70s, who has been saturated in these Scriptures all his life, and has come to love God more and more. We may not be able to see the God he describes as clearly as he does, and might disagree on some of the details of what we do see. But we can see that LaHaye is a man lit up with the love of God, and that makes "The Merciful God of Prophecy" a winsome and appealing read.

Frederica Mathewes-Green

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Getting hooked on Nemo
By Jess Losaria
The Philippine Star 08/23/2003

It didn’t take a band of merry mutants or a Superman clone (with a prefix for a name) to make the biggest splash in Hollywood this year. It took – drum roll, please! – three small fishes, namely Nemo the clownfish, his dad Marlin, and the scene-stealing blue tang Dory to send schools of moviegoers to theaters.

After watching Finding Nemo, it didn’t surprise me at all how this flick managed to beat the competition. Initially, X2 was my pick for 2003, and I already included it on my top 10 list of favorite movies of all time, a list that stretches from The Godfather (now only number two, post-Nemo) to Clueless (number 10).

A star-studded cast or a truckload of special effects is simply not enough to merit my attention. Neither will hype. A movie merely has to move me or keep me at the edge of my seat. Finding Nemo is not only a cinematic experience that proved to be successful at both areas, it also came with a bonus – it made me laugh.

The film starts on a relatively dramatic note, but it doesn’t take long for the comedy to set in. It is Nemo’s first day of school, and Marlin’s overprotective nature begins to creep up on the young clownfish’s nerves. This is perfectly understandable, as Nemo is the only existing family member that Marlin has left. After losing his wife Coral and 399 of their unhatched eggs to a ravenous barracuda, the older clownfish can’t afford another loss.

Soon, Nemo begins to become rebellious, and to prove a point, he goes so far as to boldly approach a floating vessel anchored a few meters away from the Great Barrier Reef. He deliberately disobeys his father and pays no attention to Marlin’s pleas. Before he can even begin to comprehend what is going on, Nemo is caught by a diver and is eventually put in a dentist’s aquarium overlooking Sydney Harbor. (Kids, let this be a lesson: ALWAYS obey your parents, even if it means eating your kangkong.)

This incident moves Marlin to set on a journey to find and reunite with his son. Along the way, he literally bumps into the amnesiac Dory, a fish who is as forgetful as she is unforgettable. Together they make their way towards Australia. They have their share of pleasant encounters (such as their run-in with the sea turtle Crush and his crew) and not-so-pleasant ones with the likes of poisonous jellyfishes, an angler fish, and a trio of "reformed" sharks determined to obliterate their image as mindless eating machines.

Nemo has problems of his own in his new environment. He has to face early death at the hands of – shudder – Darla, the dentist’s bratty niece whose heart is as cold as her dental braces. However, thanks to the heroic efforts of his new-found friends in the fish tank – a gang of eccentric but utterly lovable marine organisms led by Gill – and Nigel the pelican, the clownfish manages to escape.

The latest addition to the Pixar collection of superlative animated films is to me the best of the lot. Just when you think you’ve heard every joke or just about seen everything, you watch a movie like Finding Nemo and you are proven wrong.

The very first thing that dazzles your senses is the animation. It will simply take your breath away. In my case, it gave me goose bumps (all hail CGI, truly a crowning achievement in movie making!). The images are so crisp, so visually stunning, I have this absolute feeling of being under the ocean as I watch the film. In several scenes, they actually had me fooled into thinking the characters are swimming in real water.

And the film’s humor? Top of the line. Hilarious one-liners are thrown from all directions, with the blue tang herself having the lion’s share. For Dory, it is like second skin – er, scale – to deliver punchlines. And it never fails to crack me up whenever those blasted seagulls appear onscreen.

Okay, so Finding Nemo’s plot isn’t Sidney Sheldonesque, and the ending is so typically Disney, but I don’t think these are cinematic flaws. In fact, you’d barely notice these "drawbacks" because you’d be having too much fun in the theater.

This Pixar film showed me the extremes a father would go through to save his progeny. Marlin risks life and fin to find and save Nemo. For me, that is the ultimate sacrifice, the greatest selfless act that a parent can do. Finding Nemo also taught me to become a better son (and believe me, when I was younger, Nemo didn’t come close when it came to being obstinate).

Nemo has cast its bait and I rushed to take a bite without as much as a second thought. Now, I am hopelessly hooked.

Friday, August 22, 2003

10 Words You Simply Must Know

British novelist Evelyn Waugh once said, "One forgets words as one forgets names. One's vocabulary needs constant fertilisation or it will die." Editors at MSN Learning & Research picked some of their favorite words to nourish your vocabulary. Some of them you may even use. (Tip: Click to see the full definition and hear the word pronounced.)

1. Defenestrate: "throw somebody or something out of window: to throw something or somebody out of a window (formal or humorous)"

It is quite entertaining to defenestrate paper airplanes.

2. Garbology: "study of waste materials: the study of a cultural group by an examination of what it discards"

Garbology might be a good career choice for dumpster divers. Recycling may make the job of future garbologists extremely difficult--they'll have less to study.

3. Digerati: "computer experts: people who have or claim to have a sophisticated expertise in the area of computers, the Internet, and the World Wide Web"

Not too long ago, computer expertise was considered nerdy. These days, many people strive to be among the digerati.

4. Antipodes:
1. "places at opposite sides of world: places at opposite sides of the world from each other, or the areas at the side of the world opposite from a given place"
2. "opposites: two points, places, or things that are diametrically opposite each other"

One could say that Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli and Warren "Potsie" Weber are antipodes.

5. Hallux: "first digit on the foot: the big toe on the human foot, or the first digit on the hind foot of some mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians (technical)"

The ballerina had her hallux insured for $10 million!

6. Otiose:
1. "not effective: with no useful result or practical purpose"
2. "worthless: with little or no value"
3. "lazy: unwilling or uninterested in working or being active (archaic)"

Will e-mail render traditional letter writing otiose? Let's hope not.

7. Cullet: "glass to be recycled: broken or waste glass returned for recycling"

Don't forget to take the cullet out to the curbside, and be sure to put it next to the trash, not in it.

8. Pellucid:
1. "clear in meaning: easy to understand or clear in meaning (formal)"
2. "transparent: allowing all or most light to pass through (literary)"

The police officer's warning was pellucid: drivers must go the speed limit in the school zone.

9. Borborygmus: "stomach rumble: the rumbling sounds made by the movement of gases in the stomach and intestine (technical)"

If you lay your head on someone's stomach, you are likely to hear borborygmus.

10. Embrangle: "perplex somebody: to confuse, perplex, or entangle somebody or something (archaic)"

As Lord Needlebottom attempted to explain the rules of cricket, his American friends became more and more embrangled.

For more words, explore Encarta World English Dictionary.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Macapagal To Sign Dual Citizenship Law
By Agence France-Presse

PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said Wednesday she was ready to sign a law granting dual citizenship to Filipinos who have settled abroad. The dual citizenship act was passed earlier this week by Congress despite criticism it would weaken loyalty to the country.

It would allow those who have gained citizenship in other countries to regain their Philippine citizenship. It would largely benefit the millions of Filipinos who have become naturalized citizens of the United States and Canada.

"I have fought for this bill and I am glad it is finally coming through. This is the twin partner of the Absentee Voting Law," Ms Macapagal said in a statement.

She said the move would "extend more economic and political opportunities to Filipinos overseas in the name of national unity, solidarity and progress. This is a response to globalization as much as its serves our strong homing instinct, even after years in a foreign land. The bill is a tribute to our distinct culture that places a premium on family, community and national ties."

The President said that she appreciated the work of Congress in passing the "milestone legislation" and said she would sign the bill into law once it reaches her desk.

Proponents of the act have said it would bring in more investment.

At present ownership of land and management of strategic industries are limited to Filipino citizens.

Critics, however, have said that the bill devalued citizenship by allowing some people to have allegiance to two countries.

Dual Citizenship Bill Passed
Beting Laygo Dolor

AS promised by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Jose de Venecia, any person who has given up his or her Filipino citizenship can now recover the same.

Dual citizenship finally becomes a reality next week when the President signs into law the dual citizenship bill.

The bicameral body threshed out the differences between the House and Senate versions, coming out with the final version of the bill at the start of this week in Manila.

That final version is scheduled for submission to the President next week, and Arroyo has promised to sign it within 24 hours of its receipt.

Rene Pascual, president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, California chapter, informed Philippine News of the passage of the bill. He said Drilon called him almost as soon as the bill was passed.

Pascual is also co-chair of the Filipino World Alliance for Absentee Voting and Dual Citizenship, an umbrella organization which had lobbied for both causes.
Just like the Absentee Voting Bill, the Dual Citizenship Bill received fairly easy sailing after the president included it in her list of priority bills and both administration and opposition lawmakers promised to support it.

FilAms stand to gain most from the bill.U.S. law does not mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one citizenship or another.

This means that a Filipino naturalized as a U.S. citizen need not give up his home country citizenship. This also means that any Filipino who has already renounced his citizenship may again become a Filipino, officially.

Dual citizenship is believed to offer practical advantages, specifically in the areas of social security or employment in one’s adopted country.

It may also enhance one’s feeling of belonging, because he or she will have strong personal ties to

Alabama judge defies Supreme Court
Justice vows to keep monument to biblical law despite losing 11th-hour appeal

MONTGOMERY, Ala., Aug. 20 — An Alabama judge vowed Wednesday to keep a monument inscribed with the Ten Commandments on display in a state judicial building despite losing a last-minute appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court of an order for its removal.

"THE U.S. SUPREME Court's denial of a stay today will not deter me from continuing to fight for the right of our state to acknowledge God as the moral foundation of our law," state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore said in a statement read by his spokesman hours before the midnight Wednesday deadline to remove the monument.

Moore's statement, read to reporters outside after the court building closed, said he would ask the U.S. high court "for an appeal on the merits" in the case.

"I expect that the court will vindicate the rule of law regarding the acknowledgment of God in our state," it added.

Tom Parker, Moore's spokesman, said Alabama's top judge had "no intention" of removing the monument and that it would be guarded by security personnel Thursday.

Earlier Wednesday, the nation’s highest court turned down Moore's request for a last-minute stay blocking a lower court order to remove the monument. It offered no comment or recorded dissent in its one-line order.

Moore, the elected chief justice of Alabama’s highest court, has fought since 2001 to keep the biblical display in the state judicial building in Montgomery, Alabama’s capital, saying he regards the Commandments as a symbol of the Judeo-Christian foundation of U.S. law.

A federal judge in the Bible-Belt state ordered the monument's removal on the grounds it violates the constitutional separation of church and state.

If Alabama refuses to comply, it could face fines of about $5,000 for each day that the monument remains in public view. Those fines could double after the first week.

Moore installed the 5,300-pound stone monument in the rotunda of the judicial building two years ago after being elected chief justice amid publicity of his support of the Ten Commandments.

The Supreme Court has never ruled on the constitutionality of such indoor and outdoor government displays. In 1980, the court barred Ten Commandments from classroom walls in public schools.

High Court's Ruling Expected
The justices' refusal to intervene was not a surprise. An appeals court had twice refused to give Moore a stay.

"It's not like somebody's about to face execution, if the court doesn't enter a stay the person will be dead and the appeal will be moot," said David Frederick, a Washington attorney who specializes in Supreme Court practice. "If the Supreme Court were to decide it's constitutional, it can always be put back."

The Ten Commandments monument sits in the rotunda of Alabama's judical building in Montgomery.

Moore asked the high court to block the removal of the monument from the state judicial building Wednesday as supporters held a candlelight vigil to begin a round-the-clock protest.

Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor said he expected the display to be out of the building "very soon" in compliance with court orders. But Moore, who was twice rebuffed on Tuesday by a federal appeals panel, filed a motion Wednesday asking the Supreme Court to stay the orders by day's end.

Moore's supporters held a candlelight vigil just after midnight, with nine pastors leading about 30 worshipers from across the country in prayer.

"Even if they should remove this monument — and God forbid they do — they'll never be able to remove it from our hearts," said the Rev. Greg Dixon of Indianapolis Baptist Temple.

'We Must Acknowledge God'
Moore reiterated his refusal to move the monument by the deadline, set by a federal judge. "This case is not about a monument. It's not about politics or religion. It's about the acknowledgment of God," he said on CBS's "Early Show."

"We must acknowledge God because our constitution says our justice system is established upon God. For [the judge] to say 'I can’t say who God is' is to disestablish the justice system of this state."

Moore, contends that the monument, which he installed in the rotunda of the judicial building two years ago, represents the moral foundation of American law and that a federal judge has no authority to make him remove it.

Moore had pledged last week to defy the judge's order. His emergency stay request was filed Wednesday with Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who oversees cases from Alabama. Kennedy referred it to the full court, which said in a one-sentence order that it was rejected.

Groups that challenged the monument filed papers at the Supreme Court arguing that Moore should be required to obey the lower court's mandate. His compliance "will promote the public interest and will uphold the integrity of the federal judiciary in the face of Moore’s attack," wrote Ayesha Khan, legal director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

'Campaign Promise'
Moore's attorney, Herbert Titus, wrote that a stay would "permit the Chief Justice to fulfill the campaign promise that he made to the citizens of Alabama to restore the moral foundation of law."

The 11th Circuit rejected Moore's request for a stay Tuesday, and Moore immediately asked the panel to reconsider. Later in the day, the appeals court turned him down again, saying he had failed to ask for a stay within the legal time frame after it ruled against him July 1.

The 11th Circuit earlier this year agreed with a ruling by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, who held that the monument violated the U.S. Constitution’s ban on government promotion of religion.

Thompson has said it would be permissible for the monument to be moved to a less public site, such as Moore’s office.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Carthusia Perfumes of Capri began life at a monastery in the year 1380.
By Robin Cherry

It hits you right after you get off the boat in Capri: The characters played by Joseph Cotten and Joan Fontaine in September Affair had the right idea. (Movie buffs will recall the 1950 film in which two strangers fall in love on a flight to Rome and decide to start their lives over together in Italy after they're mistakenly listed as dead in a plane crash.) I didn't need Joseph Cotten or a plane crash to convince me that moving to Capri with no forwarding address was an idea well worth considering.

If I had needed convincing, it would have taken little more than a whiff of Carthusia Perfumes of Capri, which has celebrated the flowers, fruits, and herbs of this chic, spectacular island for more than 600 years.

I came upon Carthusia's shop after visiting the stunning former monastery La Certosa di San Giacomo, and the fragrant Gardens of Augustus, named in honor of Augustus Caesar, who visited Capri when he was the Roman emperor. It was the perfect time to discover Carthusia: just after I'd fallen in love with Capri's stunning beauty and been intoxicated by its heady aromas, just as I felt a desperate need to take the whole island home with me.

In the shop, a young man in a white lab coat offered me a whiff of Fiori di Capri, made from lily of the valley, wild carnation, sandalwood, ylang-ylang, and oak. I was hooked. Next, I sampled Aria di Capri, Carthusia's oldest recipe, combining the island's legendary lemons (in season all year long) with orange, peach, and mimosa, followed by Ligea "La Sirena," Carthusia's most seductive scent, named for the muses who lured mariners to their death with their sultry songs. I selected the Fiori di Capri for me, the Aria di Capri for my mother, and the Ligea "La Sirena" for my sister. (Don't ask.)

The story of Carthusia goes back to 1380, when, legend has it, the father prior of the Carthusian monastery of St. Giacomo missed the news that Queen Giovanna of Anjou would be paying a visit to the island. In a last-minute frenzy, he created an arrangement of the island's most beautiful flowers in her honor. The water wasn't changed for three days, and when the flowers were thrown away, the prior noticed that the water had acquired an exquisite aroma. He took the scented water to the local alchemist, who identified the scent's sources. Thus was born the first perfume of Capri.

Fast forward to 1948, when a new prior of the monastery came upon the old perfume recipes and, after obtaining permission from the pope, shared them with a chemist in Turin, who built a laboratory and started to produce these ancient fragrances.

Proving that it's not stuck in the 14th century, Carthusia recently introduced its first unisex scent, Via Camerelle, a spicy blend of musk and sandalwood. They also have a men's line that includes the scent Numero Uno, based on the essence of rosemary plucked from Monte Solaro, the island's highest peak. The company makes potpourri and home fragrances as well—from Capri's dried citrus fruits, flowers, and herbs.

Carthusia has shops on Via Camerelle, just off the Piazza Umberto, Capri's main plaza, and in the nearby village of Anacapri. The shops are open seasonally, from March to November; the perfume laboratory is open all year round. If you don't have plans to visit Capri, you can visit one of the places that sells Carthusia perfumes in the United States: Mignonette (Providence, Rhode Island), Fred Segal (Santa Monica, California), and Martin Richards (San Francisco). In December 2002, Celso Fadelli, the president of Herbarium di Padova, announced plans to distribute Carthusia perfumes around the world. He's currently in the process of identifying retailers. Until these plans are finalized, Carthusia has a "by request" service, which accepts orders by phone (39-081-837-0368), fax (39-081-837-6949), and e-mail ( For more information, visit

Recently, due to many requests, The 700 Club Asia featured the audiotape of Cindy Jacobs' inspiring prophecy for the Philippines. Special guest was Pastor Jerome Ocampo, head of the Jesus Revolution revival crusade, who was in the United States when the prophecy was given.

The prophecy was delivered unexpectedly and extemporaneously last October 27, 2001. The venue was the "Catch the Fire" conference of Harvest International Ministries in California, USA.

Cindy Jacobs, American founder and head of a worldwide prayer network: Generals of Intercession, author of three bestselling books on prayer, prophecy and spiritual warfare; and widely recognized "prophet to the nations" was an invited speaker.

At one point in the conference, two of a handful of Filipinos there, Pastor Jerome Ocampo and his wife Annabelle, were called onstage. They were prayed for and asked to receive the financial "love offering" for the day to benefit the "Jesus Revolution" youth revival to be held at the Luneta in Manila the next month. Cindy Jacobs was invited onstage to make the call for support for the revival.

When Cindy came up, she immediately sensed a stirring in her spirit.. "Don't you feel a sense of destiny on this stage?" remarked the prophetically gifted intercessor who had been to the Philippines once in 1996 for a conference.

"She was shaking," recalls Jerome as Cindy turned towards them. "It's as if she couldn't hold back what she wanted to say. It just exploded, tuluy-tuloy." In a high, clear, commanding voice, the words gushed out from Cindy in a torrent, without a single pause. Her prophecy was amazingly specific and accurate," Jerome marveled.. This is what she said:


Jerome, the Lord would say to the Philippines: I am shaking everything that can be shaken so that no man can glory in what I will do. For I have waited for a generation that I could raise up a purity and a holiness in. And I am raising up firebrands!

There is a forerunner anointing coming upon the youth of the Philippines that will prepare the way of the Lord, even into the Middle East. Look and see what I will do in Mindanao. For I am going to visit in a way that you cannot imagine! I am coming to Mindanao, says the Lord, as God and the Lord of Hosts, and I am going to start appearing. As a sign that I am going to truly change the nation, I am going to show myself to the guerilla leaders. I am going to come, says the Lord, and I am going to begin at the places in the Philippines that have been the bloodiest; the places where the guerillas' insurrection have been the strongest. And I am going to come with signs and wonders and miracles! I am getting ready to pour out a miracle anointing upon the Philippines such as the earth has never seen! For Indonesia, they had a mighty rushing wind. But in the Philippines they will have the fire from heaven that will begin to fall! And this will be a purging fire! And I will say, I will visit even as if in a day, says God. Do not think that I am not able to come in a day and begin to unravel the iniquities of the nation, says the Lord!

I am going to visit the military. I am getting ready to come among the young in the military. And the Lord says, there's going to be a revolution of righteousness that comes within the military.

I'm getting ready to dethrone everything that needs to be dethroned, for even the bowls of heaven are full. Oh, I see the bowls in heaven are just getting ready to be tipped over the Philippines and I am going to spill out my glory!

And the Lord says, I will remove the shame that Satan has tried to put upon this nation! And the Lord says, look and see, for even the blood of the martyrs cries out from Saudi Arabia! The blood of the martyrs cries out from those Islamic nations, and my Filipino people that have laid their lives down. Do not think I haven't seen it! Do not think I am looking away! Do not think I do not see you! Do not think I do not see you, Philippines; for I see you! You are the apple of my eye! You are a treasure unto me!

This is the day and this is the hour when I begin to change everything, says the Lord! I'm going to change the judicial system. I'm going to dethrone corrupt judges. I'm getting ready to deal with the police force. I'm going to expose, expose, expose, expose!

And the Lord says, look and see what I will do! For I will open up my treasure chest from the Philippines! And I am going to release finances for the Philippines that will surprise and shake even Hongkong! For I am getting ready to move a distribution of wealth, says God. And I am getting ready to open the oil! I am getting ready to open that which is in the ocean! I'm getting ready to bring forth a revolution even in the economic systems, in the finance systems!

Look to the university in Manila, says God. For I am going to bring a revival that the-Oh my Lord!--- the Lord says, not hundreds, but thousands and thousands and thousands are going to get saved!! The Lord says, can I touch a whole university? Yes I can touch a whole university! I can come with my glory and I can come with my power in ways that you cannot imagine!

For I am coming, says God! I am coming and I will remain, says the Lord!

From CBNAsia.

Attack of Peter Pan syndrome
By Pam Pastor
Inquirer News Service

SATURDAY night found me in a condo unit in the middle of the city, getting sloshed at a friend's bridal shower. In the middle of the drinking, stripping, dancing and laughing, it hit me.

We really are growing up.

The signs have been here for a while now, and even more so these past few weeks.

Factoid #1: You know you're growing up when your weekend itinerary includes baptisms, weddings and bridal showers of people not related to you.

Someone on my high school batch's mailing list sent wedding pictures of an old classmate. It's hard to believe that people my age have successfully planned weddings when not too long ago, we were still planning our debuts.

Just days later, I received a text message from an old seatmate who told me she's seven months pregnant. That baby is about to become my fourth godchild. It's hard to think of her as a mom when I still remember her as the girl who almost got kicked out of Geometry class with me for trying to memorize the lyrics of Donna Lewis' "I Love You Always Forever" instead of focusing on our polygons.

Factoid #2: You know you're growing up when you start thinking of your school days as the good old days.

When I was still in school and I would complain about it, adults would turn wistful and inevitably drop one of these lines, "I miss school." "I'd quit my job and trade places with you in a minute." "When you get out, you'd do anything to get back in." I had to resist the strong urge to give them a nice little kick and settle for rolling my eyes. Now, just months after getting my degree, I'm doing the same thing. And my brother and cousins are the ones rolling their eyes at me.

Truth be told, there's strange comfort in those times when our potentially biggest problems were really comparatively small. When the biggest consequences of our actions would just be a failing grade and the worst would be being expelled from school.

Factoid #3: You know you're growing up when you and your friends start sentences with, "Do you remember when... ?"

Do you remember when you cut yourself with a kitchen knife and your mom thought someone was murdered in the bathroom? Do you remember when you walked into that glass door and left an imprint of your face on it? You actually have a history with people-and revisiting that has become a major kick, a welcome break from your life's realities.

Factoid #4: You know you're growing up when you and your friends start to get jaded.

Excitement over first relationships has been replaced with cynicism. Everyone gets wary of everyone else's partners. Everyone's gone through something-and the rest start acting like the relationship police.

Factoid #4: You know you're growing up when you start acting like a condescending adult.

One night, I was out with friends when a group of adolescent girls walked past us. They were heavily made up and scantily clad.

"Jailbait," one of us said.

"What are they wearing?" another one said.

"They're just children!" a third one said.

Or there would be times we'd be out and there would be a group of boisterous teenagers at another table. They would always be met with raised eyebrows and snide remarks, as if we were never like them before, as if we don't still act like them sometimes.

Factoid #5: You know you're growing up when adult stuff has become your stuff.

Talking to friends used to revolve mostly around favorite bands, television shows, crushes and how strict our parents are. We still do that now -- minus the part about the strict parents -- but a lot of saliva is also wasted on discussions about work hours, security, benefits, settling down, life partners, getting ready for the future. Your friend who used to spend all his time playing video games is now starting his own business. The classmate who was a whiz in Math class is now handling real accounts. The cousin who once let her younger sister pull out her tooth is now a dentist.

Factoid #6: You know you're growing up when money becomes an issue.

Goodbye, allowance, hello, anxiety. Realizing that your parents aren't there anymore to answer your every whim, you start being more responsible about your expenses. Lapses in judgment lead to consequences that would impart a lesson or two.

Factoid #7: You know you're growing up when you realize you're harder to please.

Heaven used to be having my grandparents take me shopping for Sanrio goodies or tons of books. Then came the time when seeing a crush smile was enough to make my heart soar. Now, happiness lies elsewhere-and a lot of us haven't discovered where.

Factoid #8: You know you're growing up when you start being a source of embarrassment for younger relatives.

Face it, older relatives have been the reason behind a lot of our most hideous moments as teenagers. What about the aunt who insisted on interviewing your girlfriend? Or the great-uncle who liked snapping his dentures in public?

My younger cousin was buying something and I kept trying to bargain with the man. The man refused to budge but that didn't stop me. My cousin had to nudge me to shut me up. Hilarious, I thought, when I realized he thought what I had been doing was embarrassing.

Factoid #9: You know you're growing up when people around you start recognizing it too.

Just last Sunday, while my masseuse was kneading my back, she said, "Pwede ka nang mag-asawa." I would have protested loudly but my face was muffled by the pillow.

A few lunches ago, my father turned to me and asked when I was getting married. It was hard to believe that the question came from my father who, just some years back, freaked out when he realized that the huge bar of chocolate in the fridge came from a guy who was about to become my boyfriend.

Before I could even respond, he declared that he wanted a grandchild by the time he was 50. I almost choked. He's turning 50 in less than a year.

Funny. Get married and have kids when I am barely out of my haphazard romances phase?

People respond to growing up in two ways -- there are those who embrace it and those who fight it. I still haven't decided which one I am.

But then, my subconscious may have already decided for me.

While my friends are getting married, moving in together, having babies, starting their own companies, getting completely serious about their worlds and their future, I've been acting even more like a kid.

I've watched "Finding Nemo" three times. I've ordered Happy Meals because I wanted the Betty Spaghetty toys. My best friend J and I have been going to toy stores more often. I still read children's books -- my Judy Blumes and Roald Dahls and Beverly Clearys. I enjoy pestering my younger brother even more now. I went to a sari-sari store and looked for the candies of my childhood. My cousins and I left the house at two in the morning and went to a 24-hour diner in our pajamas. Now that's not very adult-like, is that?

Those are the effects of my Peter Pan syndrome.

I used to think that I would relish every step toward being an adult. After all, I have long been clamoring for freedom and independence. But now that it's staring me in the face, I find myself reluctant to jump in. There is so much to love and cherish about being young. I refuse to let that go yet.

But then, I think about my grandma who, at 75, is still the epitome of coolness, who exercises every morning, wears rubber shoes, texts, is an excellent mall buddy and remains a word wizard. I look at my other set of grandparents who still date up to now. I think about my grandma who has a crush on Bill Pullman, listens to Josh Groban, adores Sandra Bullock, has excellent taste in clothes and likes shopping for me, my brother and cousins. I think about my grandpa who has done so much with his life, who discovers the best places to go to even before I hear about them and is so smart he'd be my lifeline if I joined the now dead "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" And I realize there is a way to become an adult and still embrace your youth.

So maybe growing up isn't so bad after all. As long as it doesn't mean having to give up my Happy Meals.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Beating Job Burnout, Part I
by Shelly Field

Most people have a day here or there when they feel drained and nothing goes right, despite all their hard work. But when these feelings last for days or weeks, they may indicate a much larger problem: Job burnout.

Things may be going great -- you love your job and are excited about your career -- when job burnout sneaks up on you with a creeping sense of dread. Or burnout may hit like a ton of bricks. No matter how it happens, job burnout can wreak havoc on your career and your health.

And job burnout doesn't just negatively affect employees who suffer from it. Employers must correct burnt-out workers' mistakes and replace employees who leave due to burnout, which costs time and money.

Job burnout is not unusual for healthcare workers. Many handle life and death situations on a daily basis and work with patients whose diagnoses and treatments frighten them. Some are overworked from long hours and staff cutbacks. And in healthcare, burnout can have dangerous consequences.

Are You Experiencing Job Burnout?

To answer that question, it helps to know what job burnout is. On the simplest level, it's when you feel mentally and physically drained for more than a few days with no hopes of improvement. You feel overwhelmed and wonder why you're doing what you're doing. Nothing makes any sense.

Answer these questions to gauge your level of burnout:
• Do you have difficulty getting up in the morning?

• Are you always tired?

• Do you forget things?

• Do you have unexplained aches and pains?

• Are you irritable at work and at home?

• Do you feel angry at work and at home?

• Do you lose your temper easily?

• Have you lashed out at coworkers, patients or your family?

• Are you overwhelmed most of the time?

• Do you feel like you have less control over things at work and at home?

• Are you stressed most of the time?

• Have you begun to wonder why you're doing what you're doing career wise?

• When at work, do you look at your watch constantly to see how long you've been there and how much longer you have left?

• Are you going through the motions just to get through your shift?

• Have you been experiencing more headaches, stomachaches, rashes, chest pains and illnesses?

• Have you lost interest in things that used to excite you?

• Are you bored?

• Do you feel like you're in a rut?

If you answered yes to three or more questions, and you've felt that way for an extended time, you are probably headed for job burnout -- if you're not already there.

Believe it or not, you can banish your burnout. It takes a little effort, but it can be done.

Beating Job Burnout, Part II
by Shelly Field
Monster Contributing Writer

In part one, we discussed how to know if you have job burnout -- an ailment common to workers in the healthcare industry. This part of the article will discuss tips to beat burnout in the workplace.

One of the best ways to defeat burnout is to make your job more enjoyable. "That's impossible," you say. Maybe hard, but not impossible. Sometimes you just have to change how you think.

No matter how boring or depressing your job may be at times, you have to find chances to laugh. Laughter breaks the tension of difficult situations. It helps cut the stress you feel and the tension you may be under. The more you laugh, the better you will deal with work, and the less burned out you'll be. Many people aren't aware that stress related hormones are suppressed by laughter -- so you know what you have to do.

Try to become more social. Talk to people. Find activities to do with co-workers, friends and family members. Feeling connected to others is a great way to reduce stress and burnout.

Many people in my seminars tell me that by the time they get done working for the day, they are often so exhausted that they just want to go home and be left alone. I understand, and often feel the same way.

However, a number of studies indicate that adults who have the fewest friendships and are least active socially are most likely to die prematurely. If that's not enough to make you want to get out and have fun, I don't know what is.

Listen to conversation in your workplace. You might notice that a good percentage of discussions are negative. Work on training yourself to see the positive in situations -- see the humor and knock out negative thoughts and conversation. Negativity just makes you feel worse.

Adding fun to your day will help decrease burnout. Here are several simple ideas you can incorporate into your workplace:
• If you have a break room, consider filling it with toys and games. Coloring books will bring you back to your childhood. A puzzle will take your mind off things. Games are fun too.

• If you don't have a break room, get some little toys and games and keep them on your desk. You'll be surprised how many people stop for a moment to play with your silly putty, shake a snow globe or put the magnetic beard on the man.

• Consider putting up a bulletin board in a break room or employee lounge. Ask everyone from entry-level employees up to administrators and supervisors to bring in baby pictures. Post the pictures on the board. Everyone will enjoy looking at the photos and laughing at each other. It's fun to guess who's who. It also shows that no matter where anyone is in the hierarchy of the facility, everyone started out as someone's baby.

• Create a stress-free zone for when employees are feeling burned out. It doesn't have to be a big space -- even just a hallway outside a conference room. Consider putting in a hammock or a lounge chair and perhaps an inflatable palm tree and picture of the ocean.

• Schedule activities you enjoy in your day and week. Buy one perfect flower, and keep it in your workspace to view. Take a walk outside during a break. Take a mini visualization vacation and go where you want to go, even if it's only for five minutes.

• Plan a visit to the zoo, the movies, the gym, a spa or a local cafe. Go window-shopping by yourself or with a friend. What's important is having something to look forward to doing after work.

You can't control everything, but you can control what you are able to and forget the rest. You can beat burnout before it beats you. You just have to try.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

By L. Marcelline Santos-Taylor

At the Philadelphia Convention Center, site of the East Coast Wizard Comic Book Convention, a line forms at the Wildstorm/DC comics booth. At the end of the line, sits a genial looking fellow artist Whilce Portacio. He smiles and signs autographs, smiles and signs, smiles and signs. Then the line stops moving when a pony-tailed Asian fan hands him a stack of comic books to sign. One of the convention coordinators steps in and informs the fans that there is a two-book limit. Pony-tail isn't too happy "Come on," he tells Whilce, "give your Asian brother a break, dude.” He manages to sneak in five instead of two books and grudgingly moves back to the end of the line.

To many young artists and comic book aficionados, Whilce Portacio is a hero much like the comic book characters he has worked on including the Uncanny X-men, Iron Man and Stone. The latter being the first comic book based upon Filipino myths and legends to be released internationally. He has played mentor to a crop of young Filipino artists like Gerry Alanguilan (Wetworks, Stone, X-force,Wolverine and Superman: Birthright) and Leinil Yu (X-men, Wolverine and Superman: Birthright), who are now enjoying success in the U.S. comics industry.

Born in the Philippines some thirty-something years ago, Whilce moved to America when he was two years old. His father was a career navy man so most of his childhood was spent on military bases. "Living on military bases gives you the freedom of safety," shares Whilce, "Because there was so little crime our parents let us stay out with friends till 9:30PM sometimes and my friends and I, being boys, explored every inch of everything labeled 'military' and 'restricted.'" The young Whilce loved to read and spent many Sunday mornings after church at the library pouring over Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes mysteries. It was not until he was ten years old that he discovered comic books. "My next door neighbor wanted to throw out her husbands comic book collection while he was at work and instead gave them all to me," says Whilce.

His high school years were spent in Hawaii. And although he always had a knack for art, he never thought of becoming an artist professionally. "Until I found out I was too short and had bad eyesight from watching too much TV," Whilce shares, "I wanted to be an astronaut…then I wanted to be a rock star but couldn't sing…" With his innate artistic talent, he started to pursue a fine arts/advertising degree at the Philippine Women's University (PWU) in Manila only to return to the States after his second year. It was then that fate stepped in and chose a career path for him.

Armed with a stack of art samples, Whilce attended the San Diego International Comic Book Convention. He so impressed Marvel Comics editor Carl Potts that he was offered a job on the spot. From penciller, to inker, to writer, Whilce career as a comic book artist took off. Since then he has worked in various capacities on titles like Alpha Flight, The Punisher, X-factor, Uncanny X-men, Iron Man, and X-force. For the X-men, he even created the famous X-men character Bishop. Currently, he is a studio manager and artist for Wildstorm/DC Comics, working on the series Storwatch:
Team Achilles, dubbed as "hard-edged military fiction." His "discovery" at the Comic-con has inspired many young artists to follow their dreams.

Whilce confides: "I was excited (about getting a job on the spot for Marvel Comics) of course but strangely not bowled over or overwhelmed. I knew it was a job and people depended on me (so I had to do it well). There was so much to learn. I was responsible for my grandmother and my sisters so I had to make money being the Kuya…no time to think just do…" Playing big brother comes naturally to Whilce. It is the most Pinoy thing about him: "I was born to be a Kuya," he says. And the most American thing: "I think I can fix anything," he smiles.

In the mid-90s, Whilce was back in Manila. He lived in a large old house on Balete Drive in Quezon City, where he once again found himself playing kuya to a rag-tag family of artists. After fifteen years in comics Whilce felt he had reached a plateau both professionally and personally.

"I decided to take a (self-imposed) vacation to find myself so to speak and one thing lead to another. I just rented a spooky cool house on Balete because a friend's family owned it and the people came. As we made more friends it just became right for us all to hang out…Then we all said, hey we're a bunch of talented people let’s pool our talent together and make some money for rent and have as much fun as possible."

His semi-retirement proved productive. He taught comic book/art workshops for the LEARN center of his old school PWU and helped launch the careers of a new breed of Filipino comic book artists.

"I fell into teaching so easily," Whilce says, "it was kind of a release for me -- a way to let loose all my thoughts and experiences." Fifteen years is a lot of comics, Whilce had a lot to say. Teaching at a school and preparing new artists for "real world" jobs was a way for him to see himself as others did -- a comics idol and role model. He quips, "Work never prepares you for that role. (With work), you just think of the deadlines and the next vacation." He was definitely
onto something.

Another offshoot of those Manila years was the creation of his own comic book company called Avalon Studios. Avalon released titles like Aria, Hellcop and Stone. Stone received international acclaim and will go down in history as the first comic book based upon Filipino myths and legends to be released to the international market. Like most Filipino-Americans, Whilce had been interested in understanding his two cultures. For Whilce, writing Stone meant finding his
roots through Philippine mythology.

"My feeling is that the Philippines is in a rut because we do not know as a whole who we are in the world. If we can't find a common identity as a country, how can we banner together as one people and achieve the things that we know we can achieve (as Filipino people)?"

In the future, he plans to revive his original concept of the Stone book – a compilation of "ghost stories" that Filipinos hear growing up, as described by Philippine scholars and psychics and illustrated by top artists. "Hopefully, a definitive look into our psyche," he says.

Whilce Portacio is back in the US. Not too long ago, Whilce suddenly fell into a coma and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. "Even though I almost died, I am very blessed to have come out of it with barely a scratch. Fortunately, all I need to do is watch my diet and exercise a little more. My diabetes is very borderline and controllable," he says sounding

Perhaps it is this brush with death that has made him a bit reflective about how his life's turned out. Via e-mail, he writes: "My first fifteen years in comics were spent learning the skills God gave me. My five years in the Philippines were spent finding out who I was and ended up with finding my own family to love and protect. So my future time on Earth is dedicated to my wife, my son, my two daughters. My life right now is 9-5 working manager/artist then the rest of the
day and night devoted father and husband…to some a very ho-hum life but for me, I have reached a very meaningful stage in this wonderful life."

From caring Kuya to loving Padre de Familia, Whilce Portacio, foremost comics illustrator and author has definitely found his place in this world.


L. Marcelline Santos-Taylor is a freelance writer. She writes the column Manila Girl for the Filipino Express. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and toddler son. Taken from FILIPINAS MAGAZINE, August 2003 issue.

Friday, August 15, 2003

The Diary of an Imaginary Friend

I am known by many names. I am ever changing. For now, I will be content to be known as Taylor Shannon. I used to be called Caleb, but I am different now and I require a different name.

I am an imaginary friend. I am not a human being. I was created in a far simpler way than as humans are created. It takes nine months for a human to be full. I, took only a mere split second. I can change in the twinkling of an eye. I am a changeling.

I am immortal. I do not grow old. I do not die. But, I can be killed. I can only be killed by my creator.

My creator is my everything. Without her I am nothing. I exist to serve her purpose.

I am not like any other imaginary friend. My creator made me special. I am not a robot. She gave me the power to think for myself, see for myself and act for myself.

And now, she has finally agreed to let me tell the world about my life. Together, we are breaking all the unspoken rules of my kind. But in this way, my legacy will live on... forever.

Mel Gibson Softens 'The Passion'

Director Mel Gibson, under attack from Jewish groups for his movie "The Passion," has "softened the story" and made changes to placate critics, a spokesman says.

Gibson has edited the film to show more "sympathetic" Jewish characters who were not calling for Jesus to be crucified, said Paul Lauer, marketing director for Gibson's Icon Productions.

"We believe we have softened the story compared to the way the Gospel has told it," Religion News Service quotes Lauer as saying.

He mentioned Matthew 27:25, in which the Jewish mob calls for Jesus' blood "to be on us and on our children."

"That's in the Gospel," he said. "It's not in our film."

Religion News Service reported: "In addition, Lauer said the character of Simon of Cyrene, who was forced to carry the cross for Jesus, will be clearly labeled a Jew in the film. A shouting mob will include voices opposing the execution, Lauer said. Faced with vocal Jewish opposition, Gibson is mounting a pre-emptive public relations offensive to counter his critics - all for a film that is still being edited. After regional screenings, Gibson has lingered with his audiences to listen to their advice.

"In an effort to soothe concerns, Gibson is also hoping to launch 'The Jewish Initiative' to recruit Jewish and Christian leaders to discuss the film's effects on Christian-Jewish relations."

Lauer said, "We've gone out of our way to accommodate this process because we felt it was necessary and important, and to show that we care and that we're not callously sitting back saying, 'Screw you, we're going to make the film we want to make.'"

The New York Times, a loud critic of the movie without having seen it, in early August quoted Lauer as saying "there is no way on God's green earth" that "dishonorable" critics such as Abraham Foxman, national director of Anti-Defamation League, would be invited to previews.

'Very Concerned About This Feedback'

However, Lauer told CNN last night that Gibson would meet with "eight to 10 significant Jewish leaders over the next 30 days" to "invite their dialogue, their feedback."

"We are very concerned about this feedback, and we are processing that feedback, and we have always planned on inviting this kind of dialogue," he said on "NewsNight with Aaron Brown."

The onslaught has upset Gibson, Lauer said. "It's hurt him a great deal. He has many close Jewish friends. He's worked with Jewish people in his career, in - certainly in the movie industry for 25 years. He's never been accused of any degree of anti-Semitism or hatred or bigotry."

* More news on the movie here.

The following are different answers given by school-age children to the given question:
Why did God make mothers?
• She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
• Think about it, it was the best way to get more people.
• Mostly to clean the house.
• To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?
• He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
• Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
• God made my mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?
• We're related.
• God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me.

What ingredients are mothers made of?
• God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
• They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string. I think.

What kind of little girl was your mom?
• My mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.
• I don't know because I wasn't there, but probably pretty bossy.
• They say she used to be nice.

How did your mom meet your dad?
• Mom was working in a store and dad was shoplifting.

What did mom need to know about dad before she married him?
• His last name.
• She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer? Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores.

Why did your mom marry your dad?
• My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my mom eats a lot.
• She got too old to do anything else with him.
• My grandma says that mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

What makes a real woman?
• It means you have to be really bossy without looking bossy.

Who's the boss at your house?
• Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dads such a goofball.
• Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
• I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What's the difference between moms and dads?
• Moms work at work and work at home, and dads just got to work at work.
• Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
• Dads are taller and stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you gotta ask if you want to sleep at your friend's.

What does your mom do in her spare time?
• Mothers don't do spare time.
• To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What's the difference between moms and grandmas?
• I think around 30 years.
• You can always count on grandmothers for candy. Sometimes moms don't even have bread on them!

Describe the world's greatest mom?
• She would make broccoli taste like ice cream!

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Oh really?

Legend from Turkey

Bro, ever heard about this....? Nice story!

First read the story then look at the picture!!! This is a love story between a fisherman and a princess.
Once upon a time in Marmaris, somewhere in the southern coast of Turkey, a fisherman and the daughter of a King fell in love.

However, like all of us know, the love between a fisherman and a princess simply would not get the blessings of her father. Because of this, they would meet secretly at nights. But the old King soon learnt about his daughter's nocturnal trysts. One night, he asked his soldiers to follow her. The soldiers returned and informed the King that every night the princess would leave the palace and go to a small bay out of town. She would signal to the fisherman at the other end of the bay by flashing a light and he would come to that light to find her.

The King then ordered his soldiers to set a trap. They followed the princess, caught her and flashed a light to entice the fisherman. The princess managed to escape from the soldiers and ran as fast as she could to warn her lover. She realised though that it would not be possible to reach the fisherman if she were to run along the beach, so she thought she would swim. A miracle happened. Wherever she stepped into the sea, the water turned into sand; and the sand turned back into water whenever the soldiers followed her.

But, as she was reaching her lover, a soldier's arrow meant for the fisherman struck her, killing her instantly. When the blood of the princess got mixed with the sea water, it changed the colour of the sand...

Or so the people of Marmaris say.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Mel's "Passion"-ate Defense
by Julie Keller
Jun 13, 2003, 10:40 AM PT

It may have diaglogue in only Latin and Aramaic (with no English subtitles), it may address several complicated religious issues, and it may have the entire Hollywood community and Mel Gibson action-movie lovers scratching their heads. But the actor swears his upcoming film about the last hours of Jesus Christ is most certainly neither anti-Catholic nor anti-Semitic.

"To be certain, neither I nor my film is anti-Semitic," Gibson said in a statement to Daily Variety.

The statement comes after unholy attacks on the film from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, who claimed the movie painted both Catholics and Jews in an unflattering light.

Both groups got worried about the film's content after Gibson's extremely religious father (he adheres to a radical form of Catholicism disavowed by the Vatican) was interviewed by the New York Times Magazine in March, making some rash statements about religion and suggested that the Holocaust may never have taken place. Both groups then obtained an early edition script from the film and got up in arms about its portrayal of Jews and Catholics.

Gibson said the script was stolen, and the Catholic group has since recanted, apologizing for slamming an unfinished film and promising to return all the unauthorized copies of the script. "We regret that this situation has occurred and offer our apologies," Mark Chopko, general counsel for the Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in a statement.

Icon, Gibson's production company, is also in talks with the Jewish group for a similar apology.

Nevertheless, the Braveheart actor felt compelled to defend his movie, which chronicles the last 12 hours of Christ's life, as taken from the four gospels of the New Testament, as well as his morals.

"The Passion is a movie meant to inspire not offend," Gibson continued in his statement. "My intention in bringing it to the screen is to create a lasting work of art and engender serious thought among audiences of diverse faith backgrounds (or none) who have varying familiarity with this story."

The biggest beef Gibson and his producer have with the religious organizations is that they made passed judgment on the movie before seeing it.

"While we respect everyone's right to their opinion about the film," producer Steve McEveety told Variety, "no one has a right to publicly critique a film that has not even been completed, let alone base their critique on an outdated version of the script which has been illegally obtained."

So for the record, Gibson would like to make his opinions clear:
• On Jews: "They are my friends and associates, both in my work and social life. Thankfully, treasured friendships forged over decades are not easily shaken by nasty innuendo. Anti-Semitism is not only contrary to my personal beliefs, it is also contrary to the core message of my movie."

• On Discrimination: "If the intense scrutiny during my 25 years in public life revealed I had ever persecuted or discriminated against anyone based on race or creed, I would be all too willing to make amends. But there is no such record."

• On that whole Latin-Aramaic-no subtitles thing: "Obviously, no one wants to touch something filmed in two dead languages. Hopefully I'll be able to transcend language barriers with visual storytelling."

• On The Passion: "For those concerned about the content of this film...[it] is a movie about faith, hope, love and forgiveness-something sorely needed in these turbulent times."

For now, everyone involved will have to wait for the final release of the $25-million movie. It wrapped filming in April and is set for a spring 2004 release, though Icon has not yet found a distributor.

Mel's Film Stirs More "Passion"
by Joal Ryan

Mel Gibson's film about the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus is "the truth" and/or the potential catalyst for "turn[ing] back the clock on decades of positive progress" between Jews and Christians.

As the Hollywood hyphenate's new film, The Passion, makes the sneak-peak rounds, there is little middle ground among viewers. They're either shocked or awed.

On Monday, the Anti-Defamation League, the hate-group watchdog organization, officially positioned itself among The Passion's critics.

"Sadly, the film contains many of the dangerous teachings that Christians and Jews have worked for so many years to counter," said the ADL's Rabbi Eugene Korn in a statement.

Korn saw the film at an invite-only screening last Friday in Houston. About 50 other religious leaders were in attendance.

On the same day, some 3,000 miles away, in Anaheim, California, about 30,000 devotees of the Harvest Crusades, a Christian fest, watched a four-and-a-half-minute preview highlighting Gibson's bloody and graphic depiction of the Crucifixion.

Dan Walker told the Los Angeles Times he had no reservations about allowing his four young children to watch the scenes. "It's the truth," Walker said.

The ADL begs to differ, calling on Gibson to "modify" his film until it is "historically accurate, theologically sound and free of any anti-Semitic message," per a statement from the group's national director, Abraham H. Foxman.

For now, Gibson, who Oscar'd for directing and coproducing the life story of 13th century Scottish warrior William Wallace in Braveheart, is standing firm.

"Neither he nor his film are inspired by anti-Semitism," publicist Alan Nierob told the Associated Press.

The statement echoes one released by Gibson in June after taking heat for months from both Jewish and Catholic leaders, their concerns as much fueled by a script that its makers say wasn't the final version, as by comments by Gibson's father, Hutton, in the New York Times Magazine.

In that March article, Hutton Gibson charged that the Second Vatican Council, a historic, 1962-65 convening of the Catholic Church's bishops that ruled, among other things, Jews as a group were not to be blamed for Jesus' death, was "a Masonic plot backed by the Jews," and cast doubt on the events of Holocaust. "Go ask an undertaker or the guy who operates the crematorium what it takes to get rid of a dead body," Hutton Gibson said. "It takes one liter of petrol and 20 minutes. Now, 6 million?"

His famous son, currently building a traditionalist Catholic Church, maintains his movie is "meant to inspire not offend."

The $25 million film, financed, directed and cowritten by Gibson, doesn't yet have a release date, or a studio home. The star's agents tell the L.A. Times the movie may skip the usual distribution route and find its way into theaters with the backing of a single theater chain.

Angel Eyes' Jim Caviezel stars as Jesus, with Monica Bellucci as Mary Magdalene.

While the ADL has been quick to issue its thumbs down, others have been just as quick to leap to its defense.

A sampling of the early buzz:
• "It is an awesome artifact, an overpowering work...The moral of this Christian story--of Mel Gibson's film--is that we all killed Jesus--Jew and Gentile alike--and tortured him, and we do so every day," civil-rights activist David Horowitz wrote on his Website,

• "Some of the bad guys are Jewish, some of the really bad guys are Roman, and virtually all of the good guys are Jewish," conservative commentator/film critic Michael Medved told the Los Angeles Times, hailing The Passion as "the finest Hollywood adaptation ever of a biblical story."

• "I thought it was incredible...I actually thought they'd taken a camera and put it in the scene 2,000 years ago," the Rev. Ted Haggard, president of National Association of Evangelicals, said in the Houston Chronicle.

• "You can quote me--Mel Gibson's The Passion is not anti-Semitic," Hollywood's top lobbyist Jack Valenti, of the Motion Picture Association, told Daily Variety columnist Army Archerd. "...I found it genuinely moving, serious, a compelling tale."

And while the ADL charges Gibson's film portrays Jews as "enemies of God and the locus of evil," Valenti has a different take: "The villains are the Roman soldiers."

Here's something worthwhile but it's too long to post here: Are You Rude? Four Accidental Goofs.

Gibson's 'Passion' Raises Ire of ADL

The Anti-Defamation League expressed concern on Monday that Mel Gibson's "The Passion" will fuel anti-Semitism by reinforcing a belief that Jews were guilty for Jesus' death.

An ADL representative, Rabbi Eugene Korn, the head of the group's office on interfaith affairs, attended a private screening of the film — about the final hours in the life of Jesus Christ — at Houston's Museum of Fine Arts on Friday. The ADL previously had not been allowed to see it.

"This is not a disagreement between the Jews and Mr. Gibson," Korn said. "Many theologically informed Catholics and Protestants have expressed the same concerns regarding anti-Semitism and that this film may undermine Christian-Jewish dialogue and could turn back the clock on decades of positive progress in interfaith relations."

Said Abraham Foxman, the ADL's national director: "We are deeply concerned that the film, if released in its present form, will fuel the hatred, bigotry and anti-Semitism that many responsible churches have worked hard to repudiate."

A spokesman for Gibson, Alan Nierob, said his client's intent was to combat hatred, not fuel it.

"Neither he nor his film are inspired by anti-Semitism, and he will continue to do whatever he can to combat hatred and bigotry," Nierob said. "Mel Gibson, for his whole life and career, has been vehemently opposed to anti-Semitism and hatred of others."

Others who have seen the film have praised its beauty and accuracy.

Ted Haggard, president of the National Evangelical Association, has called it "the most authentic portrayal I've ever seen."

Gibson, the star of the blockbuster "Lethal Weapon" movies and Oscar-winning director of "Braveheart," has spent nearly $30 million of his own money to produce, co-write and direct the film, starring Jim Caviezel as Jesus and Monica Bellucci as Mary Magdalene. Filmed entirely in Aramaic and Latin, it has yet to secure a distributor.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Humans Don't Know Our Own Strength
Finding Explains Why We Can't Tickle Ourselves
By Jennifer Warner
Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD
on Thursday, July 10, 2003
WebMD Medical News

July 10, 2003 -- A new study may provide an explanation for those who've ever unsuccessfully tried to tickle themselves. Its turns out we just aren't built for it.

Surprisingly, the same study might also explain why playground fights tend to escalate quickly -- with each child claiming to have been hit harder than the other.

Researchers say it all has to do with how the human brain is wired to perceive touch.

We're Stronger Than We Think

A report published in the journal Science shows that the brain de-emphasizes the effects of our own actions, which means we actually underestimate our own strength and the amount of force we use on others.

In the study, researchers conducted a series of "tit for tat" experiments on six pairs of adults. The participants were asked to alternately press each others' fingers using the same amount of force that had been applied to their own fingers. But instead of the level of force remaining constant, it escalated quickly.

However, when the participants used a joystick to apply force rather than direct person-to-person contact, the forces applied tended to match each other more equally.

Researchers say the when the brain plans a body movement, it plays down the actual sensation of that movement to allow it to stay attuned to other sensations that might come from outside the body. And their experiments found that when a person exerts force on his or her self, the perception of the force was reduced by up to 50%.

But Not Against Ourselves

"The results showed that to get the same feeling of force, you need to exert more force. So when your apply force on yourself by pushing with your finger it feels less than when you use a machine," says researcher Sukhwinder S. Shergill, of Institute of Neurology at University College London, in a news release.

"It is well known that a system in the brain de-emphasizes the effect of our own actions, but this is the first time it has been measured."

"This mechanism also explains why you cannot tickle yourself -- the brain already knows what sensation to expect and alters the brain activity responsible for the sensation accordingly," says Shergill.

"But when someone else tickles you there is no chance to adjust your brain perception, and you feel the full effects."