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!”)

Dog Face

Cats seem to be lording it over the Internet these days, but this dog certainly went viral. Tonik, a Shih Tzu–poodle mix, avoided being put to sleep by having a face that to some, resembles a human.

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Because of his new found fame, Tonik has 350 people willing to pay $250 to adopt him. Homeward Bound (the dog halfway house where Tonik is being kept) owner Jen Schwartz, said that the dog was very reserved and might not be a good fit for families with children. Well, you would be shy too if you were a dog looking like a human.

Or not. This human who is a dog looks like a dog, is a very outgoing and popular child.

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The world’s hairiest girl (as certified by Guinness), 11-year old Supatra Sasuphan, is one of just 50 known sufferers of Ambras Syndrome. Other than thick hair growing on her face, back, arms and legs, the Thai seems like any child her age, enjoying swimming, dancing, TV, and playing with friends.

She is not up for adoption anytime soon.

How to speak English like a Pinoy 3

More Pinoy-Englishisms:

“Represent”

I had to do a double-take the first time I heard this. Instead of saying “Present!” during roll calls, some Pinoys shout “Represent!,” apparently to indicate to everyone within hearing distance that he is not only representing the group being called, but is a total retard creative English speaker to boot.

“Convenient store”

Like the “7-11” stores being set up in every street corner for everyone’s convenience, this phrase is spreading like wildfire, to the utter consternation and inconvenience of grammar teachers nationwide.

“Don’t Get Closed To Me. Get Closed To God”

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Thank God these bumper stickers have all but disappeared. Some grammar Nazi must have seen the deliciously reversed meaning of the error and warned the printer to stop producing these masterpieces of irony. Might be the work of the devil himself.

“Let’s pray for the reposed of the decease”

Because of the excessive use of the past tense when not necessary (see Get Closed To God above), some Pinoys compensate by omitting the “d” when necessary.

“In fairness”

Joins “as if” and “worth it” as the Pinoy phrases that are incomplete, but are often used by themselves. In fairness to the ones using this, it sounds grammatically correct – for like 3 seconds. Typical usage, “Imperness, maganda siya.”

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.

Pinoys in Space!

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.

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“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.

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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.

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