Friday, 31 July 2009

Observations on Communication

I received this message from another user of an online networking site:

hi there . your a photographer. I love photography. wish I can Improve my skill. I have really I good eye. but I don't have srl. Planning to buy a camera. what would you suggest? I also like photo retouching. maybe it can be my job. Don't have a job. right now. I' m sorry were not even friends. It's fine with me if like. love your photos. hope to here from you.

Then I read his profile:

Well i am a well educated guy who loves to travel and meet people. Creativity is key! I look for the challenges and the opportunities that make me a better person. I love my family and friends and I always there to support them. I am here to meet great people and to find common interests.

Ummm, wait a minute!

"Well educated"? Look at all those mistakes! (I cut-and-pasted his message to me as well as his profile text; so what you see is what he sent.)

Really makes you think, huh?

No, I didn't reply....

But I did start to think about the deteriorating state of the ability of people to communicate well in the 21st century.

It reminded me of an observation I made the other day about a news piece (if you call it that) I read online. This "news" was about William Shatner reading Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's resignation speech on NBC's Tonight Show. This "news" was covered in Yahoo! and the Huffington Post. The news was featured the same in each, stating how Shatner read, in his own uniquely distinctive "beatnik" style, Palin's convoluted and incoherent language to hilarious effect.

Then I read the reader comments!

Wow, what a difference a website makes!

Yahoo! Buzz users were overwhelmingly conservative in their thinking. I know, I may want to reconsider the use of the word thinking there, but let's just leave it at that for a while. They used a large amount of profanity, name-calling, threats, and virtually all had copious amounts of spelling and grammar mistakes, most worse than in the message sent to me above.

They all wholeheartedly supported Palin and were downright hostile towards Shatner, who probably doesn't care what they think, since he's the one making all the money while they sit at home watching him on television!

Huffington Post
users are usually liberal or progressive thinkers. They use few profane words, rarely was there any name-calling, no threats, had maybe 1/4 the number of spelling and grammar mistakes, their sentence construction is more complex, and they display a more highly developed vocabulary.

This group appreciated the entertainment value and absurdity of hearing Palin's speech delivered in Shatnerian fashion. Face it: anything Shatner reads in that unique way of his is funny. I'd laugh listening to him read my address. What's wrong with him reading Palin's speech that way?

Now, this may show why Sarah Palin enjoys the popularity she does. Her train of thought is scattered in box cars all over the railroad yard. That makes her public speaking a bit of a nightmare. While politicians usually dance around a topic, rather than addressing it directly, her speaking style is comprised of words that have her dancing, tumbling, skiing, rolling, and orbiting about! Finding the message within is something akin to locating a needle in a haystack - a 12th century haystack uncovered in an archaeological dig that may, or may not have had, a needle in it. She includes just enough what have come to be termed "folksy" sound bytes to keep her base audience cheering, regardless of the chaos between said bytes. Her voice is just grating enough to remind listeners of radio and television pundits.

Actually, the loudmouth, screaming, conservative political pundits talk radio in the US has come to depend upon so much the past 15-20 years have likely created the tone of hostility in the message boards online, especially in Yahoo!'s Buzz. The tone is much more moderate in the Huffington Post.

I'd just like it if the people who post comments would learn to pay attention to the psell cehck, use proper! punctuation; USE CAPITAL LETTERS ONLY WHEN IT IS APPROPRIATE INSTEAD OF ALL THE TIME (the same holds true for lower case. all computers have the ability to type in both upper and lower case, believe it or not!), and sTop InteRmiXinG the LoweR caSe and UppEr CasE lettErs bEcAuSe ThaT rEaLlY mAkEs ReADinG hArD.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

The View

No, not the television show.

The view from our condo, ever-changing as always.

These have been collected over the past few months. Enjoy.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Dragon Boat Races

Last Sunday I attended the Dragon Boat races at Manila Bay. As always, I'm a bit slow to pore through photos and pic the best to post here... here they are a week later!

As fortune would have it, several of my friends were there participating in various teams.

First, I was greeted by Wally:After we spent a few minutes chatting, he ws off to take part in the next race and I had spied another friend, Dexter:He's on the University of the Philippines' team, as can be told from the printing on his shirt, featuring the silhouette of the institution's famous "Oblation" statue. (I want one of those shirts! So Dexter, if you're reading this....hint, hint...wink, wink!)

As I continued on, I was spotted by my friend Booboy, who called out to me as he was doing warm-up exercises before his race:On his same team is my friend Erwyn:Also present (and a teammate of Booboy and Erwyn) was Edson's officemate Nina:(This shot is from a previous race, but I post it here because in trying to catch candids of everyone, Nina was under a tent and she is but a dark blur in the shots from last week. Sorry Nina!)

Anyway, here's some shots of the races and "stuff":

Now, here is something that is really best to never, never, never ever do: swimming in Manila Bay. Erwyn was sick for days just because a little water from the bay got in his mouth during a practice. These kids must have immune systems that can handle anything and everything, because that's what's in Manila Bay!Here's Wally at the front of the boat in red. His duty was just to beat the drum that day:

Now, if you've been wondering, as I was (and I'm sure too, my sister, also a dragon boat aficionado), where the dragons were; here's your answer:All lying on the ground! Why someone bothered to haul all these out to the event just to leave them laying in a pile is beyond me, but there they are. They belong on the ends of the boats. Without them, it really is more of a boat race than a dragon boat race, as there isn't much dragon about a boat without...well, a dragon!

Anyway, it was a great start to a great day nonetheless; and so good to see people I don't see near often enough.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

What a Wonderful Country!

Yes, the Philippines is a wonderful country!

Where else could you buy a pirated DVD of Ice Age 3 before it appears in front of the Intellectual Property Philippines office?!

The pirated DVD, manufactured and imported from China, is only 50 pesos ($1US).

Seeing it the next week in the theater is P150($3US)!

When the studio's actual DVD is released it will likely be P1000 ($20US).

...and we can buy it now right in front of the office that's supposed to be supporting intellectual property rights...but apparently that only applies to Philippine intellectual property.

What a wonderful country.

Monday, 13 July 2009


Also part of our adventure in Palawan was a trip to the island of Calauit and the African safari there.

African safari?, you ask?

Yes. African safari.

In the 1970s the Philippines took on a collection of animals from the African continent and they've been living on this island ever since. It sounds a little Jurassic Park in a way, these animals uprooted from halfway around the globe and living here in a different world. But there we all were walking among zebras and feeding giraffes and Calamian deer (a species native to the Philippines).

Safari and wildlife expert Don Young was with us for the trip. He was sad to see how the giraffes were suffering from wounds the snare traps local squatters had set on the island and also how no new giraffes had been introduced to the small herd that was relocated here so long ago. If anyone wants to send some excess giraffes they may have to Calauit, they need them there now for the survival of the herd.

Here's Don with Rudolph, the Calamian deer:Rudolph is very friendly - and loves to eat.Some of the giraffes in an enclosed area where they are being treated for their snare wounds and other ailments:Lunch time.Zebras grazing.
This is an endangered native type of bear cat and now the only one of his kind on the island. His mate was eaten by another endangered species - a reticulated python - on the island. He's kept caged now to avoid being the python's next meal.It really is an incredibly beautiful place.After several hours it was back to the dock for our boat ride back to Mangenguey:

Sunday, 5 July 2009

What You See Is What You Get, Honey!

The comedian Flip Wilson used to do a character named Geraldine who had a catchphrase that went "What you see is what you get, honey!" I was reminded of that recently when reading some signs along the road.

Honesty is something lacking in today's world, especially in politics, but one Barangay captain outside Coron advertised himself with a big sign that read "I'll try my best, but I can't promise anything."

What a slogan!

Obama had "Yes we can." That was short, simple, positive, and fit easily on t-shirts. That was a good slogan. Not so for our Barangay boy.

If this guy here sticks with his "I'll try my best, but I can't promise anything", I'm afraid his political career might end at Barangay captain! Too bad, sounds like he might be an honest guy.

Another sign I saw was the actual name of a restaurant along E. Rodriguez Ave. in Quezon City: the Ditzy Diner. Now, you'll be hard pressed to complain about bad service and receiving the wrong order at a place named Ditzy Diner! It's like they are already apologizing for your experience there...and they have the perfect excuse! They hire ditzy people! Part of the fun eating there may be you never know what you're going to get....

...but like Geraldine said, "What you see is what you get, honey! -Woo!"

Images from Mangenguey

Here's a few pictures of and on Mangenguey. Going through over 1300 pictures (and posting them here) is proving to be a daunting task!

The main house on the island.
The 2-storey, seaside red cabin:
Our cabin on the beach.More of the rest of the island:

Not bad for a little 13 hectare island, huh?!