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Twin-Twin Situation

A Texan woman had a Valentine’s Day surprise when she gave birth to four boys. Not quadruplets but two sets of twins. Identical at that. Tressa Montalvo, 36, of Houston, said she and husband Manuel, 43, have been going for a brother or sister for firstborn son Memphis for more than two years, but got substantially more than they bargained for.

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And they’re not stopping until they get a girl, according to Manuel. In a masterpiece of “you don’t have to tell us” news, online news agencies report that all four were born by Caesarean section on the same day. As if it’s likely for some to be delivered vaginally and others by C-section, and on different days at that. Two sets of identical twins happen when ova split twice before implanting in the uterus, and share two placentas.

What are the odds of that?!

Actually, scientists know. The odds of a woman giving birth to non-identical twins are one in 80. Identical twins are bit rarer, with odds of one in every 240 cases. However, two sets of identical twins happen only once every 70 million births. Multiply that by 365 if the birth has to happen on Valentine’s Day.

The lucky couple has named the four boys Ace, Blaine, Cash and Dylan. “We tried to stick to the A-B-C-D theme when naming them,” Tressa Montalvo said in a statement.

In related news, former Philippine president, former actor, now Manila mayoral candidate, and well-known womanizer, Joseph “Erap” Ejercito Estrada has admitted that he has three sets of firstborn sons. That he knows of.

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These three sons are Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Ejercito with wife, former First Lady and Senator Luisa Ejercito; congressman Joseph Victor Ejercito with First Mistress (and now San Juan City mayor) Guia Gomez; and Jojo Ejercito with former model Joy Rowena. “We tried to stick to the J-O theme when naming them,” Erap says.

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Pope Benedict resigns! Hell freezes over!

Pope Benedict XVI announced that he is resigning as head of the Catholic Church. The 85-year-old pontiff cited age (too much) and physical strength (too little) as the reasons for giving up the papacy.

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The news was met with shock and disbelief from the faithful, since popes usually serve until they die (John Paul II), or are killed (John Paul I  – just kidding, lighten up non-conspiracy theorists). The last papal resignation occurred in the 15th century, as the joke goes, when Joseph Ratzinger was still in short pants.

Many leaders of the Vatican hierarchy were caught off guard, with Cardinal Angelo Sodano saying the announcement came “like a lightning bolt in a clear blue sky.” Coincidentally, a photo taken during a rainstorm the night of the announcement (February 11) showed just that (news item).

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In related news, Satan released photos of Hell when Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, 89, resigned declared the post of senate president vacant during the height of the “Christmas bonus” scandal a few weeks ago.

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Senator Enrile, is of course, still Senate President at this time. When asked for comment about the Pope’s resignation, JPE reportedly said “Talaga? Bata pa yun ah!” (“Really? But he’s still young!”)

Bin Ladenland

Pakistan is probably among the last countries in the world where Disney will put up one of their parks, so they will have to DIY it if they want a world-class attraction. According to BBC and other news agencies, Abbotabad, site of the Bin Laden compound where the terrorist leader was killed, is building a 500-acre amusement park in a bid to develop tourism. Town officials said the $30 million park will be built near the Himalayan foothills area known for extreme sports like paragliding.

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Like the assault mission, things are top secret at this time. Loose lips, however, have leaked some of the theme park’s attractions being planned:

Shooting games
Using automatic assault weapons with real bullets. Shoot down enough of the targets and win a huge stuffed teddy bear or Bin Laden doll. Your choice.

Ferris wheel
Quite unlike the slow and lumbering Ferris Wheels in most parks, this one has the canopy looking like Black Hawk helicopter cabins. Aside from the rapid up and down movement, what’s thrilling about this ride, is that one out of two of the cabins is designed to crash randomly.

Zipline
The one-kilometer zipline will have you whooshing through the air at high speed, in near-total darkness while dodging live ammo, flamethrowers, and exploding anti-personnel grenades.

Cartoon characters
Under the full-body suits, some of these mascots have explosives strapped to their bodies. Suicide bomber style.

Water ride
A full-size mockup of the USS Cole is the main lure of the ride. Get yourself totally wet while you try to carry out the mission of blowing up the submarine.

Roller coaster
Even grown men will be screaming like little girls when they ride the theme park’s main attraction. The coaster is designed to look like an airplane cabin, takes twists and turns like it was being flown by amateur pilots, and then ends abruptly in what looks like the façade of the World Trade Center twin towers.

War of the Words

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.

JPE

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).

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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.

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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!”

US minesweeper crashes into Tubbataha

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The 7th Fleet Command issued an order that henceforth, only Google Maps must be used by the navy.

A Gathering of Old Men (and New Year’s Eve milestones)

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.

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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.”

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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.

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Pacquiao votes “No” on RH Bill

Philippine boxing idol and occasional congressman Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao rushed to the Philippine Congress to vote no to the controversial Reproductive Health bill, which promotes contraceptive use for family planning.

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Front page headline:

“Pacman votes no even if he’s no longer Catholic”

Like the Catholic Mexicans he has been beating to a pulp the past several years, Pacquiao used to wear a rosary and make the sign of the cross during fights. He stopped doing these when he joined a Christian Evangelical group, which are generally supportive of the RH bill. Fans (specially his furious mother Dionisia) blame his religious conversion for his back-to-back losses to Tim Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez.

Meanwhile in the Sports page headline on the same day (no kidding, Philippine Daily Inquirer 12/14/2012):

“Pacquiao to undergo brain analysis”

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