Monday, February 29, 2016

Death Casts No Light on the Mind

It is not for that; not
permeable at all, an Easter cross.

He crossed himself, and climbed

Then then 
imagination springs; it tastes
mulberries, risen tigers, Himalayas,
summer lightning--

He leaped eternity
(whisper goes),
a tiger to its prey.
(Fr. Daniel J. Berrigan)

We Love

about trees: past is never tall enough,
future too tall. Another spring will tell.

Tell another spring
I will be there, and fairer.

I become myself
that throat of swan
that striding giant I decree myself.

We love: in trees, in us, how many die
forward on the blade.
I see men like forests
striding, like swans riding, always
royally: though lowly afoot, striding into death

What we love: there are no blades enough (Fr. Daniel J. Berrigan)

'Kiss of life'

"A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation."
James Freeman Clarke

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- When Gibo Teodoro, one of the best presidents the Philippines never had, failed to win the presidency in the 2010 elections, pundits attributed his defeat to his association with then President Gloria Arroyo, who endorsed his candidacy as Lakas-CMD's official candidate.
They called the endorsement as the "kiss of death", an expression that means the end of something or "malas" (bad luck).
No matter how qualified and competent a candidate may be, "kiss of death" will send his chances of winning on death throes.
Thus when candidates for elective posts seek the endorsement of political behemoths, they see to it that the endorsers enjoy a colossal public acceptability rating or popularity and are not tainted by accusations of thievery. 
Or suffer Gibo's fate.


In the 1992 presidential elections, the name Fidel V. Ramos or FVR was nowhere to be found in the top three leading candidates in various independent surveys.
The top three in the surveys were Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Danding Cojuangco and Ramon Mitra.
Mitra, Cojuangco, and FVR were very dear to then President Cory Aquino. Three was a crowd.
"Who will the fountain bless?," asked the oddsmakers.
When Tita Cory endorsed FVR, the former EDSA Revolution hero did not only surpass his rivals that included Jovito Salonga and Imelda Marcos, he won the presidential race  by the skin of the teeth (although Miriam cried "we wuz robbed") .
We call Tita Cory's endorsement of FVR as the "kiss of life."


If not for Tita Cory's blessings, FVR couldn't have made that big leap (from consistently No. 5 to 7 in the surveys to victory).
Despite being ridiculed as "weakling" and "indecisive", it is to Mar Roxas' credit that he has the full support of President Noynoy Aquino.
Like FVR in 1992, surveys have not been so kind to the son of Capiz, whose only fault is he is married to Korina Sanchez.
Of all the past four presidents, however, President Nonoy Aquino enjoys the highest public acceptability rating, according to the most recent surveys.
His name has not been tainted with graft and corruption, unlike FVR's Amari deal scam, Erap's jueteng imbroglio, and Gloria's ZTE bribery and "Hello Garci" tumult, among other humiliations.
Joe De Venecia, on the other hand, was his own "kiss of death". 
When President FVR endorsed him for president in 1998 against Erap, the former House speaker had his own "Joe De Behest Loan" scandal.


Against a popular movie actor who had a mind-boggling mass appeal, non-showbiz and dreary traditional politician De Venecia was already politically dead even before FVR's endorsement.
Aside from President Noynoy Aquino's endorsement, Roxas, as a former interior and local government secretary, also enjoys logistical support from the government (this is prohibited by law, but as the saying goes, there are a thousand ways to skin a cat).
Shellacked and battered in the surveys, the Liberal Party's Roxas and Leni Robredo tandem is still considered to be the force to reckon with.
Under the combined mighty forces of Senate President Frank Drilon, House Speaker Sony Belmonte and the DILG to boot, most governors, mayors, councilors and board members down to the village chiefs have started mobilizing their forces and stretching their muscles in every nook and cranny nationwide.
Plus, President Noynoy Aquino's "kiss of life".

Man, the sexiest primate alive

"At twenty a man is a peacock, at thirty a lion, at forty a camel, at fifty a serpent, at sixty a dog, at seventy an ape, at eighty a nothing at all." BALTASAR GRACIAN 

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- The book that makes some of us feel embarrassed about our animal selves rolled off the press in the year when Bolivian guerrilla leader Che Guevara was captured; and when The Beatles released the album "Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band." 
The year when one of the Iloilo Mountain Tigers' longest-serving members known in Iloilo today as "Mr. Bean" was born.
I'm referring to Desmond Morris' sensational worldwide bestseller, The Naked Ape, described by Saturday Review as "a startlingly novel idea, brilliantly executed."
No less than Morris himself, the author, who formerly was the Curator of mammals at London Zoo, admits that in dealing with the fundamental problems of the naked ape, "he realized that he ran the risk of offending a number of people."
"There are some who will prefer not to contemplate their animal selves. They may consider that I have degraded our species by discussing it in crude animal terms," writes Morris.
"I can only assure them that this is not my intention. There are others who will resent any zoological invasion of their specialist arena. But I believe that this approach can be of great value and that, whatever its shortcomings, it will throw now (and in some ways unexpected) light on the complex nature if our extraordinary species."


Morris explains that his book was intended to popularize and demystify science.
"There are one hundred and ninety-three living species of monkeys and apes," Morris alleges. "One hundred and ninety-two of them are covered with hair. The exception is a naked ape self-named Homo sapiens. The unusual and highly successful species spends a great deal of time examining his higher motives and an equal amount of time studiously ignoring his fundamental ones. He is proud that he has the biggest brain of all the primates, but attempts to conceal the fact that he also has the biggest penis, preferring to accord this honor falsely to the mighty gorilla. He is an intensely vocal, acutely exploratory, over-crowded ape, and it is high time we examined his basic behavior."
"To read Desmond Morris on the sex habits of the naked ape is disconcerting, to say the least" observed the Saturday Review. "Here the detail is specific and clinical...and the naked ape comes out of it looking very animal read on with the mixture of discovery and enlightening, entertaining, disturbing, discomforting, ego-shrinking experience."


The book tells about man as "a creature who can write immortal poetry, raise giant cities, aim for the stars, build an atomic bomb--but he is also an animal, a relative of the apes--a naked ape, in fact."
The Naked Ape, serialized in the Daily Mirror newspaper and has been translated into 23 languages, depicts human behavior as largely evolved to meet the challenges of prehistoric life as a hunter-gatherer (see nature versus nurture). The book was so named because out of 193 species of monkeys and apes only man is not covered in hair.
Morris made a number of claims in the book naming man as "the sexiest primate alive". 
He further claims that our fleshy ear-lobes, which are unique to humans, are erogenous zones, the stimulation of which can cause orgasm in both males and females. 
Morris further states that the more rounded shape of human female breasts means they are mainly a sexual signalling device rather than simply for providing milk for infants.


He also attempts to frame human behavior in the context of evolution, but his explanations failed to convince academics because they were based on a teleological (goal-oriented) understanding of evolution. 
For example, Morris writes that the intense human pair bond evolved so that men who were out hunting could trust that their mates back home were not having sex with other men, and that sparse body hair evolved because the "nakedness" helped intensify pair bonding by increasing tactile pleasure.
Morris criticizes some psychiatrists and psycho-analysts that "have stayed nearer home and have concentrated on clinical studies of mainstream specimens. Much of their earlier material, although not suffering from the weakness of the anthropological information, also has an unfortunate bias."
Sexually the naked ape finds himself today in a somewhat confusing situation, Morris explains. 
"As a primate he is pulled one way, as a carnivore by adoption he is pulled another, and as a member of an elaborate civilized community he is pulled yet another."


issues in marvels:

crucial delicate finger at flute stop.

Hill easing itself like tiger's body, around one
blind tufts of violets.

A spring after, felled oak, one
heartbeat unspent one
handful of leaves

in a dead hand. (Fr. Daniel J. Berrigan)

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Friend, Trust)

Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.

Even the light can’t guarantee our safety and happiness from a friend with a dark heart and dark intention.

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Responsibility)

No matter how good of a woman you are, you will never be good enough to a man who isn't ready.

He may be ready for the pleasure, thrill and ecstasy, but not for any spousal or familial responsibility. Ready to rumble in bed, not to gamble in life.

Our sexual behaviors

"One of the bizarre satisfactions of rape for the sadist is that the writhings and facial expressions of pain he produces in the female are somewhat similar to the writhings and facial expressions of a female experiencing an intense orgasm."

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- When we put a piece of food into our mouth it does not necessarily mean that we are hungry. 
When we take a drink it does not inevitably indicate that we are thirsty.
In the Human Zoo, writes English zoologist Desmond Morris, eating and drinking have come to serve many functions. 
We may be nibbling peanuts to kill time, or we may be sucking sweets to soothe our nerves. 
Like a wine-taster, we may merely savor the flavor and then spit the liquid out, or we may down 10 pins of beer to win a wager. 
Under certain circumstances, we may be prepared to swallow a sheep's eyeball in order to maintain our Facebook status.
"In one of these cases is the nourishment of the body the true value of the activity," explains Morris. "This multi-functional utilization of basic behavior pattern is not unknown in the world of animals, but, in the human zoo, man's ingenious opportunism extends and intensifies the process."
Let's examine the different functions of sexual behavior one by one. 
Morris reminds us that "it is important to realize at the onset that, although these functions are separate and distinct, and sometimes clash with one another, they are not all mutually exclusive. Any particular act of courtship or copulation may serve several functions simultaneously."
These are the 10 sexual functional categories, according to Morris:
1. PROCREATION SEX. There can be argument that this is the most basic function of sexual behavior. It has sometimes been mistakenly argues that it is the only natural and therefore proper role. Paradoxically, some of the religious groups that claim this do not practice what this preach, monks, nuns and many priests denying themselves the very activity which they hold to be so uniquely natural.
2. PAIR-FORMATION SEX. The human animal is basically and biologically a pair-forming species. As the emotional relationship develops between a pair of potential mates it is aided and abetted by the sexual activities they share. The pair-formation function of sexual behavior is so important for our species that nowhere outside the pairing phase do sexual activities regularly reach such a high intensity.
3. PAIR-MAINTENANCE SEX. Once a pair-bond has been successfully formed, sexual activities still function to maintain and reinforce the bond. Although these activities may become more elaborate and extensive, they usually become less intensive than those of the pair-forming stage, because the pair-forming function is no longer operating.
4. PHYSIOLOGICAL SEX. In the healthy adult human male and female there is a basic physiological requirement for repeated sexual consummation. Without such consummation, a physiological tension builds up and eventually the body demands relief. Any sexual act that involves an orgasm provides the orgasmic individual with this relief. Even if copulation fails to fulfill any of the other nine functions of sexual behavior, it can at least satisfy this basic physiological need.
5. EXPLORATORY SEX. One of man's greatest qualities is his inventiveness. In all probability our monkey ancestors were already endowed with a reasonably high level of curiosity; it is a characteristic of the whole primate group. However, when our early human ancestors took to hunting, they undoubtedly had to develop and strengthen this quality and magnify their basic urge to explore all the details of their environment.
6. SELF-REWARDING SEX. It is impossible to draw up a complete list of the functions of sex without including a category based on the idea that there is a thing as 'sex for sex's sake'; sexual behavior, the performance of which brings its own reward, regardless of any other consideration. The function is closely related to the last one, but they are nevertheless distinct.
7. OCCUPATIONAL SEX. This is sex operating as occupational therapy, or, if you prefer, as an anti-boredom device. It is closely related to the last category, but again can be clearly distinguished from it. There is difference between having spare time and being bored. Self-rewarding sex can occur as just one of many ways of constructively utilizing the spare time available.
8. TRANQUILIZING SEX. Just as the nervous system cannot tolerate gross inactivity, so it rebels against the strains of excessive over-activity. Tranquilizing sex is the other side of the coin from occupational sex. Instead of being anti-boredom, it is anti-turmoil. When faced with an overdose of strange, conflicting, unfamiliar or frightening stimuli, the individual seeks escape in the performance of friendly old familiar patterns that serve to calm his shattered nerves.
9. COMMERCIAL SEX. Prostitution has already been mentioned, but only from the point of view of the customer. For the prostitute herself the function of copulation is different. Subsidiary factors may be operating, but primarily and overwhelmingly it is straightforward and commercial transaction. Commercial sex of a kind also figures as an important function in many marriage situations, where one-sided pair-bond exists: one partner simply provides a copulatory service for the other in exchange for money and shelter. The provider who has developed a true pair-bond has to accept a mock one in return.
10. STATUS SEX. With this, the final functional category of sexual behavior, we enter a strange world, full of unexpected developments and ramifications. Status sex infiltrates and pervades our lives in many hidden and unrecognized ways. It is concerned with dominance, not with reproduction, and to understand how this link is forged we must consider the differing roles of the sexual female and the sexual male. Although a full expression of sexuality involves the active participation of both sexes, it is nevertheless true to say that, for the mammalian female, the sexual role is essentially a submissive one, and for the male it is essentially an aggressive one.


I saw a mother
mourning her sick child
the hundredth time that day
or any day or night
equally wearying, equally hopeless.
She sees death stand at the end of days.

And saw a young husband;
his wife, suddenly dead, borne to the church door,
he, serving at Mass
impassive, cold at wrist and heart
to match her cold, one ice laid on one flesh.

The exemplary world moves us to tears
that in their falling, purify
eye's glance, impure world, both

I know the world now , if world has face.
It beats steadily as a child's heart.
It is the moon's rhythm 
that like a woman's long
unutterable glance of love
draws the bridegroom after. (Fr. Daniel J. Berrigan)

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Freedom from death

"Being prepared to die is one of the great secrets of living." GEORGE LINCOLN ROCKWELL

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- A very interesting biography about a little-known financial advisor based in the City of Irvine in the Orange County, California offers a lesson about living and dying.
Ross Anderson was a financial professional at Signature Resources Capital Management, LLC, a $93M dollar RIA based in Irvine, CA. 
Ross was also registered with Signator Investors, Inc., a broker-dealer with over 1,500 registered representatives nationwide. 
When Anderson, 78, died on October 6, 2011, his obituary was simple: "Ross graduated from Ellendale High School and served in the U.S. Navy from 1951-55. He was employed by the Northern Pacific Railroad; later Burlington Northern until his retirement at age 55. He was an avid fisherman and deer hunter, and loved tinkering in his garage and gardening."
This "avid fisherman" and "deer hunter" turned out to be one of the greatest authors in recent memory. In one of his books, Personal Freedom, he emphasized that "the greatest happiness and fulfillment in life can come through your personal independence and freedom."


Each of us is marching inexorably toward death. We were born, we are living and we must die, Anderson suggested.
We may feel uncomfortable talking about our demise, or passing, but it will occur nevertheless. 
Here's what he wrote about Freedom from death: "It has never ceased to amaze me how people take life so seriously. You can see situations many times each day where there is anxiety or conflict and its origin is often in placing so much importance on the moment.
"To get some perspective on how important our moments are you can walk down into the Grand Canyon, and you can see the strata which have formed over millions of years. I've done that a few times and also viewed exposed strata in many other places just as I'm sure you have.
"It is impossible to see this and not realize that time, an invention of humans, has no relation to the enormous passage of existence represented in the layers and layers of life we can see in a geologic strata. And those millions of years have no meaning at all in relation to the universe where there is no passage of time at all. Even billions of our years are nothing to the universe.


"If that's the case how can we possibly become engrossed in any passing situation in life to the degree it harms us? How can we alter our happiness because of a disappointment when we can see that, in the all-and-all of things the disappointment means nothing at all.
"Think of all the arguments, the wars, the battles, the business deals, the trauma, the conflict and the unhappiness which has transpired over the countless years we see represented in our old world, and no one cares.
"It is obvious that we have learned nothing from the wars. The arguments between individuals or nations mean nothing to us now. The individual problems of all people have no significance, but it is certain that they all took these events seriously at the time.
"And, we;re taking them seriously now. We are not here for long, and the simple fact is that life is too short for unhappiness. It is too short for constant worry about finances. Conflicts between friends, mates, neighbors or anyone else are simply such an ignorant waste of time that they can't be considered.
"Life is long enough for living, for loving, for helping, for building, for travel and for happiness but it isn't long enough to be taken so seriously, moment-by-moment, leading us to unhappiness.


"A philosopher once said, 'If you're thinking of killing yourself, you're taking life seriously. Life is just long enough for one good laugh.' That's the truth, too.
"If life is so temporary how can we possibly be bogged down in problems and troubles which mean nothing to anyone else and will mean nothing to us when we are gone? What's the point of it? But we can see that nearly everyone takes every situation, every day, as if that moment was going to last forever. We can see people build enormous wealth as if they are building a business or estate which will last long as the planets.
"I believe in building a business and I believe in making money. I don't however take it so seriously, that I ever think it is the most important thing in life nor do I dream of it having any lasting effect on the world. Something as great as the United States, as a country, will be gone and fade away and, a thousand or a million years from now, won't even be remembered. If that's the case then there is no doubt about how significant our problems are.
"When you are confronted with people who are taking the moment too seriously, who want to oppress you, who think they are getting to you, who are looking at the moment instead of millions of years, just overlook the conflict, resolve the problem if you can, and then forget it.


"I've been able to cultivate this outlook for several years now and it certainly is an enjoyable way to live. It is also the feeling which can remove the larceny from a person's heart. "There is no room for dishonesty in life since it is so temporary and there is no point in being dishonest. Any gains from dishonesty are meaningless in the millions of years we are looking at.
"There is no reason to fear death. Whatever death involves it is inevitable.
"It is a great comfort to many people to think of the harps and grapes waiting for them on the other side. Some people are waiting for nirvana, a state of peace. Others are looking forward to a new world where they will live and move about. "Others believe that their death is a sleep from which they will never awake. Some young people think of heaven as listening to rock music forever. Some old people think of hell as listening to rock music forever.


"When people are buried all that is in the casket are some chemicals. If they are cremated their chemicals are reduced to a smaller container, and those people are no longer living. As they used to move around, to talk, to laugh and to love, they do it no longer.
"There is some melancholy in this but not sadness. Melancholy since we do miss friends when they are gone, whether they move away or die. There is no sadness since their death is just like your death and my death. It's just something that happens.
"If you can cultivate a perception of death as just something else that happens, as something to do, then it takes on a whole different meaning in your life--no meaning at all!"

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Patience)

Patience is not simply the ability to wait - it's how we behave while we're waiting.

The agony of waiting is nothing compared to the excitement and satisfaction of having attained our objectives and enjoying to the fullest the fruits of our labor. 

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Betrayal)

Learning to trust is one of life's most difficult tasks. 

Betrayal from enemy, that's fine. Betrayal from a friend, that's hell.Trusting or to trust anew becomes increasingly difficult for those who have been betrayed by friends and loved ones.

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Enemy)

Don't be afraid of enemies who attack you. Be afraid of the friends who flatter you.

Flattery is more lethal and dangerous than a direct physical assault. We can parry or dodge an assault; in flattery, we are being cooked using our own oil. To compound the matter, we have no idea we have been fried and ready to be served for breakfast!

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Friends)

You find out who your real friends are when you're involved in a scandal.

The fake ones jump like chimpanzees and display their big white teeth in excitement as scandal tears our reputation apart in public. The real ones offer their shoulders for us to lean on and are misty-eyed even if they avoid eye to eye contact with us.

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Desire)

I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who overcomes his enemies.

Overcoming or clobbering an enemy is no big deal. In every battle there is always winner and loser. But if we can't roll past our desires, the desires will bundle us out!

Alex P. Vidal (Satisfaction)

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.

What we don't have can't reduce the intensity of happiness and satisfaction we enjoy on things we acquire and possess through patience and hard work. Quality over quantity.

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Enemy)

If you are far from the enemy, make him believe you are near. 
-- SUN TZU :

Near or far, the best option is to prepare to smoke the proverbial peace pipe with any known enemy. There should be no permanent enemies, only permanent desire for peace and reconciliation.

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Happiness, Dignity)

It's always better to be alone with dignity than in a relationship that constantly requires you to sacrifice your happiness and self respect.

We should never sacrifice our pursuit of happiness and preservation of our dignity and self respect in the altars of the irrationals, the thugs, the pagans, the bigots, the voodoo advocates, the soothsayers, and the bloodsuckers. 

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Education)

It is possible to store the mind with a million facts and still be entirely uneducated.

Transforming our mind into a bodega of facts does not guarantee education. It will merely give us awareness and information. Real education is when our values are in perfect harmony with our knowledge and character!

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Attitude)

The only disability in life is a bad attitude.

Deficiency in material possession can be compensated with hard work. Deficiency in knowledge can be redeemed with education. But deficiency in manners and etiquette is handicap in character.

Physical Karma: Revelations of man's destiny

"Though the mills of the God grind slowly, yet they grind exceedingly small; though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all." FREIDRICH VON LOGAN, Retribution

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- Much has been written about "Karma," a universal law considered as immutable, a law of cause and effect referred to by Oriental faithful and both Luke and Matthew in the Bible.
In his speaking engagement I attended at the St. Elizabeth Theater in Vancouver, British Columbia two years ago, Dr. Deepak Chopra, author of the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, stressed that karma is used philosophically to indicate conditions in the present stemming from thoughts and actions in the past.
Karma's Sanskrit meaning encompasses both action and reaction -- or consequences. Its Hindu meaning encompasses work, or the labor of the soul seeking to attain union with God.
In the book, Edgard Cayce's Story of Karma, author Mary Ann Woodward arranged and selected the "sleeping prophet's" revelation of man's destiny. During his lifetime, Cayce--the world-renowned prophet and psychic--gave a series of clairvoyant trance reading devoted to metaphysics and revolving around the central theme of reincarnation. The shock waves from his revelations still reverberate in scientific and religious circles.


Although Cayce was a practicing Christian, his trance readings frequently embraced concepts of Oriental religions, according to Woodward. From these discourses comes Edgar Cayce's Story of Karma--his explanation of the powerful life forces generated by personal actions which can bless or plague us through many lifetimes.
Woodward wrote that Cayce told many seekers, in their physical readings, that their physical defect or disease was a karmic condition. These readings emphasized the fact that our physical condition is directly dependent upon our mental and spiritual ideals, with their concomitant emotions, from one life to another. 
"We do take it with us," wrote Woodward. "Moreover, our daily stresses and strains, our emotional upsets, affect us physically."
Many were reportedly told they would not be well, nor would their physical condition improve, until both their mental and spiritual attitudes changed. "They would have to give up such negative things as fears, hates, and resentments and become more in attunement with Creative Forces," she added.


To be sure the attitudes oft influence the physical conditions of the body. No one can hate his neighbor and not have stomach or liver trouble. One cannot be jealous and allow anger of same and not have upset digestion or heart disorder. (4021-1)
This dependency was explained thus: For their have arisen the acute conditions not only from physical reactions but mental conditions that have been as resentments, which have been built into mental forces of the body. These are indicated in the reacting with the physical effects upon organ finding reflexes in various portions of the body. (1523-9)
This body is meeting its own self. For it is meeting its own shortcomings, when judged from some moral standards. The body, then, must first in its mental and spiritual attitude make amends, not merely promises to others but to self and the sources of health and of life itself. These should be the beginnings and the body not merely being dependent upon the applications which must be, or may be, made by others; for there are within self the conditions here taken which now bring undesirable results in the ability of the body to function in the manner either physically or mentally as is most desirable. But there would be first a change in mental and spiritual attitude...(5283-1)


"Of course, physical applications help healing and do alleviate the condition, but true healing comes from the mental and spiritual self," added Woodward.
And there must be taken into consideration all phases of this entity's experience in the present if the conditions would be wholly understood. For mind is the builder, and if there will be kept a balance--the physical mind and the spiritual mind should cooperate, coordinate. There are those forces which the entity, then (not merely the body but the entity--body, mind, soul, is meeting in itself, called--by itself oft--karmic reactions. But karma--Well, these are the conditions as we find them in the body: The body, the mind, the soul are one within the physical forces; for the body is indeed the temple of the living God. In each entity there is that portion which is a part of the Universal Force, and is that which lives on. All must coordinate and cooperate. (1593-1)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Prof. Copernicus thinks I am right (Last of 2 parts)

"I'm sorry, if you were right, I'd agree with you."
Robin Williams

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- Three big historical events in February, March and April juxtaposed in the calendar of topics Professor Jozef Copernicus wanted to discuss with me one breezy afternoon in the blizzard-drenched Central Park.
First was the February 22-25, 1986 "People Power" EDSA Revolution in the Philippines; second, the March 15, 4 B.C. "Ides of March" in Rome; and third, the April 15, 1865 assassination of Abraham Lincoln in Washington D.C.
In the first article, I narrated to Prof. Copernicus why the Philippines had a bloodless revolution and how prayers worked wonders and averted heavy casualties in EDSA. February topic settled.
For March, Prof. Copernicus came out swinging: "Who were the conspirators in Julius Caesar's murder and why it was dubbed the 'Ides of March'?"
I quickly recalled the effervescent Brutus.
"Brutus!" I muttered. "Brutus and Cassius."
"Who else?" chortled Prof. Copernicus while rushing forward, his left eyebrow twerking.


APV: "As many as 60 senators conspired to kill Caesar but not all of them participated in the actual assault inside the Theater of Pompey."
Prof. Copernicus: "How about Brutus and Cassius?
APV: "According to William Shakespeare and Plutarch, while the senators and Cassius were starting to stab Caesar, who was caught unprepared, he backtracked and tried to seek refuge when he saw Brutus hoping the latter would shield or defend him. All of a sudden, Brutus stabbed him in the back. Surprised, Caesar turned his back and chided his adopted son, 'Et tu, Brute?' or 'you also, Brutus?'"
Prof. Copernicus: "Right. Caesar died on the spot. Nobody saved him?"
APV: "He slumped dead in front of Pompey's statue and Mark Antony, his trusted bodyguard who was outside, failed to save him."
Prof. Copernicus: "And the Ides of March?"
APV: "A soothsayer had earlier warned Caesar would be harmed in (or before) the Ides of March. He laughed off the seer's warning and proceeded to the Theater of Pompey."


Exit March and Rome. Enter April and Washington D.C. Conspiracy to kill Lincoln.
Prof. Copernicus: "You said Lincoln's murder was a result of conspiracy? All I know is he was assassinated inside a theater by an actor,  a lone gunman by the name of John Booth."
APV: "John Wilkes Booth was the gunman but up to 10 people were hanged in public after trial when they were found guilty of conspiracy."
"The execution of the conspirators became controversial," I proceeded, "because a woman named Mary Surratt was among those convicted and hanged. She protested her innocence up to the last hours and became unruly, refusing to be hanged simultaneously with the nine others."


I added: "Her only crime was she owned the boarding house used by the conspirators to plan the assassination. I learned about this account in a book I read inside the Barns and Noble bookstore in windy Chicago in 2008."
Prof. Copernicus: "It's not yet clear to me if it was a conspiracy. You mentioned the name Mary Surratt. She was hanged also? Honestly, I didn't know it was a conspiracy and a woman had been meted a death penalty. To settle the confusion, can you Google Lincoln's assassination and check if it was really a conspiracy and if a Mary Surratt was among those convicted and hanged?"
APV: "Yes, professor. I will do that now."
I took my mini iPad and Googled "Conspiracy Lincoln assassination."
APV: "Here, professor. It's a conspiracy and (I pointed to him) here's the name of Mary Surratt: ("
Prof. Copernicus (reading the link on the mini-iPad): "OK. You just taught me a piece of history. You are right. You win."

Monday, February 8, 2016

Prof. Copernicus thinks I am right (Part 1)

"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude." Thomas Jefferson

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- Around past three o'clock one afternoon inside the cold Central Park, Professor Jozef Copernicus told me he instantly recalled having visited Manila after the 1986 EDSA Revolution.
"It was my first and only visit in your country," the professor mused. "I was a speaker in an international conference held in a hotel by the bay (Manila Hotel?)"
Professor Copernicus thought the Marcos family made the right decision to fly to Hawaii when the mob was already a cinch way from capturing Malacanang Palace evening of February 25, 1986.
The late former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, the professor insisted, should also be credited "for aborting a bloodshed that would have tarnished the reputation of your country (as the only Catholic in Asia)."


"It was supposed to be a revolution, right? But why nobody was shot; why no one was killed?" Prof. Copernicus inquired like a classroom teacher doing a recitation test.
"Nobody was killed, yes. There was no bloodshed because President Marcos rejected the appeal of Armed Forces Chief, Gen. Fabian Ver, to shoot the rebel soldiers led by Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and (AFP Vice Chief of Staff) Gen. Fidel Ramos, who were being protected by the People Power," I answered looking straight at both his eyes.
Prof. Copernicus: "And they were also being protected by nuns praying the rosary and holding the statues of Virgin Mary, right?"
APV: "That's correct, Professor! The nuns also gave flowers to government soldiers manning the tanks."


Prof. Copernicus: "Filipinos are mostly Christians and deeply religious by nature?"
APV: "We were the only country in the world that has not experienced a bloody revolution; and basically we are mostly religious, having been Christianized by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 at the time when Martin Luther was starting to spread the protestant movement in Europe."
Prof. Copernicus: "We are talking about the EDSA Revolution, which happened only more than 20 years ago, but you are jumping to the events that happened more than 500 years ago. You are mixing the dates."
APV: "I'm sorry, professor. But they are related to the hypothesis on how we, Filipinos, became a Christian country." (To be continued)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Yes, there is such animal as male menopause

"The masculine energy was about survival. The male was the hunter who risked his life and had to be in the fight-flight mode." DEEPAK CHOPRA

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- "Is there such thing as male menopause, sir?" asked Ronalyn, mass communication student at Iloilo St. Paul University, inside the editorial room of Sun.Star, a daily newspaper I once edited.
"Female menopause yes, but male menopause I haven't heard of that yet," I honestly replied to Ronalyn. "Since I am a newsman and not a doctor, we might as well consult the experts on the subject matter: the doctors themselves."
Days later, I found an article that could help provide the answer to Ronalyn's question: Dr. Tito Garrido's article about male menopause.
Garrido admitted that most Filipino males would not admit they also have menopause. 
The mere mention of the very idea that men experience a form of menopausal change will still draw amusement and laughter, according to the doctor.


"But this concept has been around as early as 1950s and it has recently enjoyed more attention and credibility," Garrido explained in his column "At Your Service" at the defunct The Philippine Post dated July 14, 1999.
Garrido defined male menopause as "a crisis of confidence identified in the middle aged men, comparable with menopause in women, but thought to be caused by psychological factors such as fear of aging."
The doctor explained further: "Undoubtedly, a part of the controversy as to whether there is indeed such a thing, stems from the misleading use of the term menopause. Derived from the Greek word 'menses,' it refers to the cessation of a woman's monthly menstrual cycle. 'Andropause,' which relies on the Greek work for a man, Andro, is the most commonly accepted term, defined as the natural cessation of the sexual function of older men."
Garrido explained that some authors see it more broadly as "a biological an biochemical condition that has psychological, physical and emotional components." Viropause/andropause is a naturally occurring psychological state that occurs in men's middle years, producing feeling of unhappiness and undermining men's sense of self worth, identity, and competence, stressed Garrido.


The doctor said endocrinologists have pointed out that in men, there is nothing as traumatic as in the case of women--there is no one period, no striking change to indicate a drop in hormonal levels. 
However, research indicates that men to experience this phenomenon, gradually producing less and less of the male sex hormone, testosterone, as they age. 
In most cases, this progressive decline occurs from age 20 to 80 years.


These various hormonally-induced physical and behavioral changes is now generally perceived to be the underpinning of this male menopause, or andropause, he explained.
"But this is only part of the equation," Garrido wrote, "for there are also profound emotional aspects as well. It is at this transitional stage of life that a psychological stock-taking, often triggered by biological changes, usually occurs. The reflection on one's life can also be triggered by other physical factors such as an illness like high blood pressure or heart attack, receding hairline, greying hair, or some forms of sexual dysfunction."


He further stressed: "Other less tangible precipitating factors can include retirement or financial stress, or becoming a grandfather for instance. This process can then lead to stress and unhappiness, or what is more commonly referred at as a mid-life crisis." If a man discovers that he can't attain his goals and then discovers that his body isn't as reliable and as strong as it used to be, the effects of male menopause are compounded."
He warned that most men do indeed manage this transition well, but for those that do not, they often start experimenting with life, making major life-altering changes. 
"This is where the classic stereotype of the middle-aged man dumping his wife in favor of his twentysomething secretary comes into play," Garrido emphasized. "It is a phenomenon that is described in psychological terms as 'fusion with younger body' in a futile effort to regain his lost youth."


In severe cases in which a man experiences abnormally low testosterone levels, hormone replacement therapy maybe the answer, but many medical practitioners see this only as a last resort, Garrido observed.
"In some cases, simply minimizing psychological and physical stress, reducing alcohol intake and stopping smoking for instance, may help," he suggested. "In short, attending to the needs of the physical body is healthy, the others aspects fall into line."
On the psychological side, acceptance of aging is crucial--adopt the attitude that you're not getting older, you're getting better, he volunteered. "Value your wisdom over physical prowess and re-evaluate your goals and what you already have and try and bring them closer together," Garrido asserted. "And most of all, accept that the dreams of your youth were probably unrealistic, rework these dreams so that they may continue to inspire you, but in a more realistic context."
Garrido warned: "Andropause does not take place in a vacuum. While the male is coping with these changes, the spouse is undergoing even more dramatic changes with her own menopause. The good doctor says that if both partners do not realize what is happening and make adjustments to life and thought, the crisis of middle age need not be that much of a crisis."