It’s a sordid tale of a rejected Christmas gift of biscuits, a May-December romance (if you can call an 89-year old hooking up with a 50-year old that), dug-up multi-million peso debts of dead people (legal or otherwise), and unequal show of generosity of what is basically the people’s money.
Complaints about Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile’s uneven distribution of excess Senate funds last Christmas (friendly senators received PHP1.6 million, while four senator-enemies received only PHP250 thousand) reached a fever pitch the past week. Senator Miriam Santiago was apoplectic (she was one of the unfavored four) and developed a mild stroke as a result. Senator Antonio Trillanes again failed with a coup-de-etat on Enrile’s senate presidency (he tried to oust former president Gloria Arroyo years back, and got jailed for the exercise).
Enrile’s chief of staff, lawyer Gigi Reyes, joined the fray by calling the complaining senators “hypocrites” by accepting the money the past years. Senator Alan Cayetano was not too pleased by the name-calling and made references to Reyes acting as if she was one of the senators. Enrile responded by using his debt-of-gratitude card, claiming that Cayetano’s father, a former senator and Enrile’s law partner, owed him 37 million pesos (almost a million US dollars). The rumor mill was busy about stories of Reyes being Enrile’s mistress. Gigi later resigned and apologized by saying that “the Senate stinks” (news item).
While all these were going on, a Canadian being sued for unruly behavior and due for deportation, went amok in Cebu, killing two people before he shot himself. Despite the COMELEC gun ban due to the coming May elections, John Pope managed to slip a pistol into the Cebu Palace of Justice and shot the plaintiff (a physician) and his lawyer.
The Canadian bad boy then roamed the justice complex but failed to find the fiscal, whom he intended to shoot also. People are aghast at the waste of bullets at the Palace of Justice, when it could have been put to better use at the Senate Building.
Speaking of gun bans and foreigners, an Indian expat was asked what he thought about all these. “Gang bang? Oh, we have a lot of that in India!”
While on an unspecified mission, the USS
Intruder Guardian ran aground in the famed Tubbataha reef, off Palawan island in western Philippines. Tubbataha is a protected nature sanctuary, and is among the best diving sites in the world. Boats entering the area must secure permits from the government.
The ironically named Guardian is not the first foreign ship to wreck the reef. The likewise ironically named Greenpeace (flagship of the environmental activist group) was fined $7,000 for doing the same in 2005.
Leftist Environmental groups wasted no time in venting their ire at the American embassy in Manila. The crew of the minesweeper was evacuated from the ship, not because the Greenpeace or other protestors were in the area, but because the ship was in danger of sinking.
Navy officials did not reply to questions why a minesweeper can be wrecked by fragile corals and marine life. Being men, the crew reportedly refused to ask for directions and blamed faulty navigation software for getting lost at sea.
In related news, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer denies that the company created the Minesweeper navigation software, just the game of the same name. Apple CEO Tim Cook likewise denies that the faulty Apple Maps app (sample screen capture below, guiding a road car) is to blame for the ship’s grounding.
The 7th Fleet Command issued an order that henceforth, only Google Maps must be used by the navy.
Even though there is a move by some scientific sectors to create a Philippine space agency, the notion of a Filipino astronaut seems like a pipe dream. But it may happen as early as 2014. Axe, the deodorant brand, will be sending 22 humans to space in the Lynx suborbital space ship, and one of them will be a Filipino.
“The program we’ve launched is an opportunity for our great nation to join the global community in taking the next big leap. We’re very excited to meet the first Pinoy astronaut. It could be anyone,” said the Philippine Axe brand manager.
I initially thought the whole thing was a joke, particularly because the marketing campaign was named the “Axe Apollo Space Academy” (AASA), as in “AASA ka pa ” (“In your dreams”). And Axe? Really? Until I realized astronauts don’t really take showers during space missions, so it may actually make sense. The Axe contest is promoting a new fragrance line called Apollo, and even hired the second man on the moon, Buzz Aldrin, as spokesman. Neil Armstrong is most definitely spinning in his grave.
From the first 10,000 Pinoy applicants, two candidates will be chosen for astronaut training at the Axe Apollo Global Space Camp in Orlando, Florida. One of them will eventually take the $95,000 space ride for free.
More space news. Advances in ultrasound technology will allow NASA’s scientists to see more clearly what happens to astronauts’ spines under zero-gravity conditions. It has been known for a long time (probably since the Skylab missions) that astronauts can grow by a few inches during space travel due to a lengthening of the spine from lack of the Earth’s gravity pull. The vertebrae basically just relax and expand. The ultrasound device will be used for research in the next mission to the International Space Station.
In related news, spokesmen for Vice-President Jejomar Binay (height 5’2″) and former president Gloria Arroyo (height 4’11”) deny rumors that the two were among the first applicants in the search for the Philippine Axe astronaut.
The BBC biopic “Neil Armstrong – First Man on the Moon, ” will be aired soon. In it, Neil’s
snitch brother Dean Armstrong reveals that he was shown the famous quote some time before the astronaut left for the blast-off site. This destroys the illusion that Neil said the lines spontaneously upon stepping on the lunar surface for the first time.
It is of course very reasonable to expect Armstrong to prepare well ahead for his historic first few words on the Moon. In his biography published in 2005, however, he said that the quote evolved over the course of the flight mission. He may clarify that by saying that the entire mission took months anyway (except that he’s dead now), so technically he was correct.
Coincidentally, a just published NASA-funded study revealed that astronauts exposed to Galactic Cosmic Radiation may develop Alzheimer’s disease. Highly charged iron particles in space, thrown off by exploding stars, pass through space ship walls and can hit the astronauts, causing the disease. Laboratory animals exposed to the space radiation developed forgetfulness, as well as the histopathologic markers of Alzheimer’s disease.
This may explain one of the most famous grammatical errors in history, when radio transmissions indicated that Armstrong uttered “That’s one small step for man.” Neil Armstrong has always maintained that he said it with an “a” before “man.” Dean confirmed in the biopic that the astronaut had really written “one small step for a man” when he originally showed him the quote.
In related news, Neil’s bum and drunkard
snitch brother-in-law Dave Headweak, will soon reveal in the tabloids that the moon landing was faked and shot in a sound stage in Los Angeles.
Fairly boring life, isn’t it?
He survived the Mayan calendar changeover, but died on the Gregorian calendar New Year’s Eve. Fr. James B. Reuter, “The Great Communicator” and honorary Filipino (he was an American Jesuit), passed away at the age of 96 from stroke complications. Fr. Reuter is best known for his multimedia (TV, radio, theater and print) work. He had a hand in running the underground radio station “Radyo Bandido” during the last dark days of the Marcos regime. For his lifetime of work he has been given many prestigious awards.
Sr. Sarah Manapol said she sang “Mary’s Child Forever” to him as he lay in his deathbed. Even when the nuns taking care of him thought he was unconscious, Reuter was said to have joined them one last time in their singing. During interviews with the press Manapol said, “I was singing to him… Mary’s child forever … forever Mary’s child … He was listening so beautifully. We became teary-eyed.”
Speaking of old men and New Year’s Eve milestones, it took two tries but Hugh Hefner, 86, is starting 2013 a married man. He wed his 26-year-old “runaway bride” Crystal Harris at a private ceremony in the Playboy mansion in Los Angeles. They were supposed to marry in 2011 but Crystal was not clear about the whole thing and broke off the engagement just days before the ceremony.
The 60-year age gap spawned the usual jokes: “He married her for her money,” “she married him for the sex,” etc. Comedian Ricky Gervais calls Hefner one of “The Walking Dead.” I call him a “walking Viagra commercial.”
Hefner shed his iconic pajamas and wore a tuxedo for the short wedding rites, and forced the poor puppy to do the same.
There is no truth to the rumor that Harris sings “If You Leave Me Now” and “Time to Say Goodbye” to Hefner every night in their bed.