Welcome to My Site

If this is your first visit, welcome! This site is devoted to my life experiences as a Filipino-American who immigrated from the Philippines to the United States in 1960. I came to the US as a graduate student when I was 26 years old. I am now in my early-80's and thanks God for his blessings, I have four successful and professional children and six grandchildren here in the US. My wife and I had been enjoying the snow bird lifestyle between US and Philippines after my retirement from USFDA in 2002. Please do not forget to read the latest national and International News in this site . I have also posted some of my favorite Filipino and American dishes and recipes in this site. Some of the photos and videos in this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringing on your copyrights. Cheers!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Can Phases of the Moon Affect Mood Swings?

Eight Phases of the Moon-Photo from devdutt.com

In my previous posting about compulsive talking disorder(C.A.D.), I mentioned that the mood of my relative who has C.A.D. seemed to be affected by the phases of the moon and it gets worse during full moon. I also promised I will do some web search on the subject. The following article confirms my observation. The title of the article: Can Phases of the Moon Affect Mood Swings?

"Moon causes mood swings, true or false? Ask this question from a doctor the answer would be a thundering No. Ask this from a farmer in the village the reply would be a smiling Yes. Most pragmatic people concede that the Moon influences them in their moods and emotions.

The MoonIn Astronomy, the Moon is the closest celestial body to the Earth. In fact the Moon is not a planet; it is just a satellite. The Moon orbits the Sun, however as it is gravitationally linked to the Earth it rotates around the Earth as well. The Moon was once part of the Earth. Millenniums ago a celestial body by the name of “Theia” struck the original Earth to break it into two pieces: The broken out part emerged as the Moon the remaining part continued as the Earth.

The Moon revolves around the Earth and it takes 29.56 days to complete a cycle. In this revolution the Moon goes into phases or lunation cycles. The Moon’s journey has eight such phases: New Moon, Waxing Crescent, First Quarter, Waxing Gibbous, Full Moon, Waning Gibbous, Last Quarter and Waning Crescent (Balsamic Moon). Out of these eight Moon phases the New Moon and Full Moon are noted as regards to their gravitational influence in opposite directions. Full Moon pulls you whereas New Moon dulls you. Waxing Crescent and Waning Gibbous have similarity in the degree of gravitational pull; First Quarter and Last Quarter are equal in their gravitational influence.

Moreover, the Moon wobbles on his erratic and elliptical path thereby at times it gets closer to the Earth and at times it is farthest from the Earth. These aspects are called perigee and apogee:

1. Perigee: This is the point where the Moon is closest to the Earth in its revolution. The closest perigee recorded is 221,440 miles from the Earth. At this moment the Moon has the highest pulling power

2. Apogee: This is the point where the Moon is farthest from the Earth in its revolution. The farthest apogee recorded is 252,730 miles from the Earth. At this moment the Moon has reduced pulling power.

3. Mood Swings

Both men and women are subject to mood swings of varied degree. Some men are susceptible to high mood swings, while others experience low mood swings and still few others relatively mild or no mood swings:

4. A high degree of sexual arousal is experienced in women; in the case of men the sexuality could turn out to be fairly violent. Sometimes they tend to use force on sexual partners or masturbate. Making sex during this time does not give mutual satisfaction to partners

5. Generally the Moon influences the endocrine system; Pituitary, Hypothalamus, Thyroid, Adrenal, Thymus, Pineal , Prostrate, Pancreas glands together with Gonad, Sex and Sweat glands are all impacted by the Moon. Furthermore, vital organs, nerves, blood cells, and body cells are also affected by the Moon

6. The energy produced within the body system experiences see-saw pattern; consequently either you brim with vitality or complain about loss of concentration

7. The aspect of criminality raises its head; surprisingly more crimes take place during bright Moon than dark Moon

8. More people get into injury or cause injury on others; those who are prone to accidents and falls have tendency to suffer more

9. Emotional instability is yet another disturbance caused by the Moon especially in those who are engaged in stressful jobs and vocations or having competitive lifestyle

10. Mentally retarded children would experience fall in their cognitive ability, while those who are insane or on the borderline might engage in madder actions than ever.

What You Should Do?

1. Be prepared to handle Moon related disturbances that could severely affect members of your family

2. Do your planning well by checking the date of Full Moon and Perigee Moon. When the time gap between Perigee Moon and the Full Moon is less than six hours the impact of these disturbances is very high. So diarise the full Moon days.

Source: cosmicgemslanka.com

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Is Compulsive Talking an Addiction Disorder?

I have two relatives that are compulsive talkers in the Philippines. One is on my wife's side and the other on my side of the family. Both relatives are sometimes socially avoided because of their compulsive talking. The most common phrase use in our household, is the term "diarrhea of the mouth". When this relative starts talking and dominate the conversation, everyone just look at each other, thus not helping this relative at all. The compulsion seem to be more frequent during the full moon phase. All the relatives warn each other not to contact this person during the Full Moon days. Thus I do believe that people moods are affected by the phases of the moon. Do you believe this? I plan on posting some information on how the phases of the moon affect human behaviour soon.

The following article, I found very practical on how to deal with relatives who have compulsive talking disorder.

"Conventional wisdom holds that people who talk incessantly are merely rude, or pushy, or domineering. Instead, they are more likely suffering from "Communication Addiction Disorder." (C.A.D.) That is, they seem not to be able to stop themselves from talking so much, despite receiving social rejection for doing so.

This syndrome parallels one identified earlier in many people, I.A.D. - "Internet Addiction Disorder." In the case of I.A.D, persons seem to be unable to stop spending time online, surfing the net, communicating in chat-rooms, etc.

I used to think that over-talkers kept jabbering because they didn't think anyone was listening. By using a machine-gun approach, they hoped to hit something and finally be listened to. I now believe that most "talkaholism" is an addictive condition, and one more difficult to treat than its opposites of reticence, shyness, and communication apprehension.

In some ways C.A.D. is self-reinforcing to the talker, as if through some dysfunction in the person's neurological wiring the talker gets some reinforcement of their talk habit.

We all know at least a few talkaholics and may even have tried to "cure them" by pointing out how much they talked, or by scolding them, or by avoidance. Because most of them deny that their over-talk causes problems, these attempts to change them rarely help (as you may have noticed.)

Ways to manage compulsive talkers
Assert yourself and take charge of the conversation.

This is what HMO doctors have to do when they are required to see many patients in brief consultations. If you merely do polite listening and expect normal turn-taking, you may be run over by the talkative one. It can help to set up the time frame for talk, as in "I've got only 10 minutes before I have to pick up my daughter.

You can take more control by firmly interrupting. For example, you can say "Hold on a minute and let me ask you a question" or "I'd like to respond to what you've said so far."

Tell them how much you want to hear. Talkaholics tend to share all the details. Tell them, "I don't need all the details right now to understand. Just give me the headlines." You can do this if you're talking with a peer or a subordinate, but you may not be able to do so if you're talking to your boss.

In meetings, talkaholics can be reined in by having ground rules that require brevity. Having a set of agreements about how long participants are allowed to talk can help. We are aware that such procedures are used in both houses of the U.S. Congress and many public hearings.

If nothing else works, you'll want to escape the frustrating situation, saying "Please excuse me, I've got to go now." We know that victims of talkaholics eventually reduce contact with them, stop inviting to social events, and sometimes even sever their friendships.

Treatment for Communication Addiction Disorder?

The research evidence indicates that dependable treatment is not yet available. However, I think it is possible for a talkaholic to better manage their tendency with some coaching. If willing, they can learn to talk more briefly, to recognize the feelings that accompany their need to talk, and to pick up on the cues from others that they are causing interpersonal problems.

I also think that the new "energy psychologies" that have proven effective in dealing with stress and anxiety should also be tried.

Usually it is a high state of tension that drives a person to talk so much as a way of seeking relief. Reducing tension through simple self-help methods could go far in helping compulsive talkers to manage how much they talk".

I hope you found the above article informative.

Sources: Loren Ekroth, www.hodu.com and http://www.conversation-matters.com.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Lady Gaga Cried at SYTYCD Fox TV Show and a Mini Gaga from Brazil

Lady Gaga as Judge at SYTYCD Reality TV Show-photo from idolator.com

Do you watch the Fox Dancing Reality Show, So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD)?
At the last night show( July 27), Lady Gaga was one of the two guest judges. She not only cried but also throw her red boots to show her appreciation of the dancing of Melanie and Sasha. The show last night is by far the most enjoyable and entertaining episode of the season in my opinion. Gaga was an excellent guest judge as well as Rob Marshall-an award winning choreographer. So far all of the previous guest judges were all good. Mary Murphy a regular judge was on her usual screaming fits and inspiring comments.

The first video is an excerpt from last night show. The second video is about a young girl or a midget imitating Lady Gaga during a singing competition in Brazil. Hope you enjoy the two videos.

Mini Gaga-Laura Fontana Melhores of Brazil. Is she a young girl or a midget?

Note: Lady Gaga's video, Alejandro, is one of my top ten most viewed posting with over 24,600 page views since June last year. Have you listened to it? Entertaining indeed!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Do you Play Bridge? Party or Duplicate?

Macrine and I started playing party bridge way back in the 1970's. We started playing party bridge at the SOS Club in Modesto, California. We made a lot of friends this way and had a grand time. When we moved to the Bay Area, we started playing duplicate bridge at the El Cerrito Bridge Club. We played once a week for almost two years and accumulated enough master points to become Junior Masters. We became members of the American Contract Bridge League( ACBL). When we moved to the Washington, DC area we stopped playing either party or duplicate bridge completely. If you are playing bridge now, this posting is not for you. So, I suggest stop reading and just help me by clicking on my ads above. This way you can add groceries to my table, in case I do not receive my SS check next week. Just kidding!
But before you sign out, I have a joke for you. "Having sex is like playing bridge, If you don't have a good partner, you better have a good hand."

If you play cards before and want to know more about bridge continue reading, but do not expect to learn how to play bridge after you read this posting.

There are two types of bridge games -- "party bridge" and duplicate bridge. Both use the same rules for actually playing the game, but the scoring and structure of the two formats are different.

Party Bridge at the SOS Club in Modesto, CA, 1971
Party bridge is informal and and is usually played in people's homes. A group of four people (two partnerships) -- or several tables of four people each -- play as many hands as they like, at any pace. Each table records its own scores on the hands it plays and may or may not compare its scores with those from other tables.

DDuplicate Bridge Tournaments That My Wife and Had Attended
uplicate bridge is an organized, more competitive form of the game, usually for larger groups, and is played at a set time and place. It's called duplicate because the exact same hands are played at every table and scores are compared among tables. Each partnership plays several other partnerships, and everyone plays the same number of hands (usually 24-27 hands) in the same time period (3 to 3.5 hours).

History of Bridge:

Contract Bridge was invented in the 1920's and in the following decades it was popularised especially in the USA by Ely Culbertson. Bridge currently occupies a position of great prestige, and is more comprehensively organised than any other card game. There are clubs, tournaments and championships throughout the world.

Rubber Bridge is the basic form of Contract Bridge, played by four players. Informal social bridge games are often played this way, and rubber bridge is also played in clubs for money.

Duplicate Bridge is the game normally played in clubs, tournaments and matches. The game is basically the same but the luck element is reduced by having the same deals replayed by different sets of players. At least eight players are required for this. There are some significant differences in the scoring.

Contract Bridge developed in the 1920's from Auction Bridge, which is different mainly in the scoring. In Auction Bridge, over tricks count towards making game, so it is only necessary to bid high enough to win the contract - there is no incentive to bid all the tricks you can make.

Note: Currently, Macrine and I play bridge on line. We use Hoyle's Card Games,2010
Edition. It is one of the best way to exercise your mind/memory, thus delay the onset of Alzheimer's Disease. The CD cost only $19.99. If you are not comfortable with computers and want to learn this card game, I suggest you take lessons in your local bridge club. The fee is usually very minimal and it is a good way to socialize with others. If you are single, a widow or divorced thus have no partner, do not worry, the club will assign you a partner and hopefully you are compatible. Bridge is a partnership game. It is very, very important that you and your partner are compatible. When, I say you must be compatible, I meant your skill and knowledge of the game is about in the same level. If you are more skillful in the game than your partner, and you are not patient, the game of bridge instead of being fun will be a source of frustration and irritation for you. You will know exactly what I am trying to say, when you start to actually play a bridge game, specially duplicate bridge.

Reference: www.pagat.com

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Three More Scam Letters, I Received This Month

Here are the three letters verbatim. Note the several typo's and grammatical errors. Sentence construction and syntax are all out of whack. These three letters are sounding more ridiculous than the scam letters I have received previously.

1.First Letter:
Salam Alaykum Urgent Reply Pls

Dear Friend

I know that this message will come to you as a surprise. I am the Auditing and Accountingsection manager with Bank Of Africa Ouagadougou Burkina faso. I Hopethat you will not expose or betray this trust and confident that I am about to repose on you for the mutual benefit of our both families.I need your urgent assistance in transferring the sum of (£10.5)million to your account within 10 or 14 banking days.you will have 45% of the above mentioned sumwhile 50% will be for me, and the other 5% will be for the expences

These are the details about the deceased and his family. Late Hassan El-madi used his late wife (MRS.HAJIA EL-MADI) as his next of kin but unfortunately, she died along side with him in their house. So, nobody knows about the account and as such,you should not be afriad in this deal. Just keep it as secret between us.You can still see again the website covering U.S.A Boomp Explosion as posted by the CNN and BBC news report;

Mrs Sotisse Kuume
Bank Of Africa Ouagadougou
Burkina faso.(B.O.A

EMAIL: aisha.aziz10@gmail.com

2. Second Letter
Dear Friend,


I know this letter may come as a surprise to you. I am Mrs. Aisha Abdulaziz, the Secretary of the contract Award commission of the Energy management board in Burkina Faso, West Africa.

We had a contract with Denmark through the Burkina Faso Danish Cooperation, which was signed on the 4th of march, 2008 on the Electrification of the Urban centres, offices and rural dwellers. The project has been executed, you can check on the
website. www.sonabel.bf During the award of this contract,The Chairman, Dr. Philip Sawadogo, A Board Member, Mr. Sidiki Ouedraogo, and I,The Secretary,Mrs. Aisha
Abdulaziz and Mr.Kabore Jean Baptiste, a board member had inflated the amount of this contract and the OVER- INVOICED is being safeguarded under our custody and the inflated amount is with a bank.

However, we have decided to transfer this sum of money, Nine million, five hundred thousand U.S dollars only ($9,500,000.00) out of this Country for disbursement. Hence, we seek for a reliable,honest andnot greedy foreign partner whom we shall use his or her account for transferring the fund.

And we agreed that the account owner shall benefit 40% of the total amount of money, 60% is for us here. If you are capable to handle the transaction without hitches and
flaws, then we have confidence in the business and a risk free transfer from our side.

We want to transfer this funds, so that our retiring soon or later will be a better and blissful retirement life, as such we are very cautious towards actualising this noble venture.

If you are interested to execute this deal with us, kindly respond by sending me the followings:


Waiting for your urgent respond.

Best regards,

Mrs. Aisha Abdulaziz
EMAIL: aisha.aziz10@gmail.com


3.The Third LetterA CRY FOR HELP.

My Humble Greetings! Please permit me to introduce myself properly to you, My name is Maverick Ducoin the only child of late Dr. Soro Ducoin from Abidjan Cote D'Ivoire, (Ivory Coast). My late father was the formal General Manager of Cocoa Merchant Industry in Abidjan, he was among the rich agriculturist murdered by the agent of the government of President Laurent Gbagbo during the political crisis / war for his support and sympathy for opposition party Rassemblement Des républicains de Côtes d'Ivoire (RDR).

Before the death of my father, he deposited in the bank the sum of US$9.5,million (Nine Million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars) in one of the Investment Bank, for investment before his sudden death. Right now, I'm in Republic Of Benin where I'm taking a refuge because of the war which took over in my country few months ago. So therefore, I'm contacting you for you to assist me transfer this money to your country for investment in your Company under your management while I continue my education there in your country because my education stopped due to the sudden death of my Father. My mother died after giving birth to me through operation.

Thank you for you concerns as I would compensate you with 20% of the total money after you have help me transfer the money successfully into your safe bank account in your country. Please reply back to me through my private email here (meverick.ducoin@hotmail.fr) for more details. I will be waiting to hear from you.

Thanks and best regards.

Yours Sincerely,
Miss. Maverick Ducoin.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Famous Pure and Half Filipinos in the US

Manny Pacquiao
Do you have a favorite Filipino or Filipino-American celebrity? I have my top ten favorites listed below.

My top ten favorites are: Manny Pacquiao( boxer),Leah Salonga(singer and actress), Enrique Eglesias(singer), Christine Gambito(internet comedian), Cheryl Burke(dancer), Cristeta Comerford (White House Chef), Rob Schneider( actor), Fe del Mundo(pediatrician), Josefino Comiso( physicist), and Charice Pempengco(singer). How about you? Who are your favorites?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mark Zuckerberg Reminded Me to log in Now to Google+

I was surprise to receive the following comment in one of my blogs last week.

"Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "I am on the Waiting List on Google+ Social Network...":

I applied for membership on Google + last 2 or 3 weeks ago and was told to wait. I tried logging in yesterday and it went through. I haven't set up my Google + page yet, maybe when I have more time. Check it out and you may be able to start using your Google + account now."

Mark Zuckerberg

If you do not believe me,visit http://lifeinus1960present.blogspot.com dated July 19,

Posted by Anonymous to Life in the United States and the Philippines: 1960 to the Present at July 21, 2011 10:32 AM

Note: Are you in Google+ now? Do you like it? Is it better than FB?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Do You Suffer From Insomnia? 28 Tips You should Try!

My wife suffers insomnia once in a while. But, I know of a relative that has chronic insomnia, she had to see a doctor. In my case, I have probably had insomnia once or twice in six months and I feel I am lucky I have no problem sleeping. The following article are tips that may you already have tried, if you suffer from insomnia. According to the latest medical survey around 30% to 40% of the world suffers from insomnia, short-termed or chronic. Here are the 28 tips you may want to try.

1. See a Doctor
Insomnia can be a symptom of physical disorders, although for most of us it's the result of tension, stress and anxiety—and of course the more anxious we get about our insomnia, the worse it gets. If your doctor pronounces you a "healthy" insomniac, he might suggest some of the techniques provided here. Or she might prescribe drugs to help you get to sleep. We suggest you try all these methods first, and use drugs only as a last resort. The decision, of course, is yours.

2. Take a Warm Bath
It's a great way to relax your body. Don't overdo it, however. You merely want to relax your body, not exhaust it. Too long in hot water and your body is drained of vitality. Use bath salts, or throw in Epsom salts and baking soda—one cup of each. These will relax you and also help remove toxins from your body.

3. Get a Massage
Have your spouse (or whoever) give you a massage just before going to sleep. If you can convince them to give you a full body massage, great. If not, even a short backrub and/or a face and scalp massage can be a big help. Have them make the massage strokes slow, gentle, yet firm, to work the tension out of your muscles and soothe you to sleep.

4. Listen to Music or Other Audio
Play some soft, soothing music that will lull you to sleep. There are many CDs designed for that very purpose. Some are specially composed music, others simply have sounds of waves rhythmically breaking, or the steady pattern of a heartbeat. Some will lead you to sleep with a combination of music, voice and other soothing sounds.

5. Drink Warm Milk
A glass of warm milk 15 minutes before going to bed will soothe your nervous system. Milk contains calcium, which works directly on jagged nerves to make them (and you) relax.

6. Drink Herb Tea
If you don't like milk—or are avoiding dairy products—try a cup of hot camomile, catnip, anise or fennel tea. All contain natural ingredients which will help you sleep. Most health food stores will also have special blends of herb tea designed to soothe you and help you get to sleep.

7. Eat a Bedtime Snack

8. Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol and Tobacco

9. Sleep in a Well-Ventilated but not very bright Room

10. Sleep on a Good Firm Bed and Sleep on Your Back

11. Get Some Physical Exercise During the Day

12. Keep Regular Bedtime Hours

13. If You Can't Sleep, Get Up, Don't Sleep In

14. Get Up Earlier in the Morning

15. Keep Your Bed a Place for Sleep

16. Avoid Naps

17. Avoid Illuminated Bedroom Clocks

18. Of course there's the standard insomnia remedy that everyone knows (although it never worked for us): Counting Sheep

Some insomnia techniques you probably haven't seen before

19. Sleep With Your Head Facing North

20. Don't Watch TV or Read Before Going to Bed

21. Toe Wiggling and Stomach Rub

22. Progressive Relaxation and Deep Breathing

23. Visualize Something Peaceful or Visualize Something Boring

And some new suggestions from readers who have found these remedies useful for their own insomnia.

24. Not Thinking and Yawning

25. Smoke Yourself to Sleep

26. Sex—Alone or with Others

27. Backwards Counting / Mental Computer

28. Short Walk Before Bed

Good luck! Have a pleasant sleep! Which tip(s) have you tried?

Source: www.well.com_mick/insomnia

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Save the Post Office! Mail your Card Greetings via USPS

This Post Office is Saved: Thanks to my wife and a few others who still mail birthday and other card greetings to Relatives and Friends -Photo from kensavage.com

My wife*(see note 1) is still using the postal service to mail birthday cards greetings to her relatives in The Philippines. I used my FaceBook account or electronic card via e-mail to send birthday greetings to relatives and friends here in US and in the Philippines. My wife has no FB account, so she is trying to help the USPS financially by mailing her card greetings to relatives and friends in the Philippines. I still mail via post office about 10% of my monthly bills, the rest of my bills is paid by automatic deduction on-line from my bank account. But in spite of our help to keep the Postal Service in business, the following announcement in last week newspapers attracted my attention. One station identified is near us here in the Sacramento Area. The closure of these offices will add to the depressing unemployment statistics**(see note 2 below) in the US.

"The Postal Service has marked 677 post offices nationwide for possible closure or consolidation, according to a listing provided to Congressional staffers by the U.S. Postal Service. The closure is part of cost cutting measure proposed by the USPS to the US Government Post Regulatory Commission.

The hearing, titled “Making Sense of It All: An Examination of USPS’s Station and Branch Optimization Initiative and Delivery Route Adjustments” heard that the Postal Service is expected to lose approximately $7.1 billion by the end of FY 2009. The USPS proposed to cut these loses through a combination of post office closures, price increases and other efficiency drives.(What?,another increase in postal rates!)

Not helping the USPS is a drop in mail volume caused by consumers switch online for information previously received by mail, and recession hit companies looking to reduce their mail volume by emailing accounts.

The proposed cuts are expected to save $1 billion annually. The “Post Office closing list” contains post offices that have been “identified” for full study for closure, meaning that all might not close".

How about you? What percent of your bills is still paid by mail instead of on-line?
Do you still send birthday greetings by snail mail? How often do you mail packages through the post office? Who is next in line? I am predicting the manufacturers of Birthday, Easter, and Christmas cards will soon be also losing money unless they diversify and sell other products.

Note 1*: The recipient of my wife's birthday greeting card was her first cousin in the Philippines. Her cousin called her today to thank her for the card. Her cousin reiterated to her that it is no longer customary to send birthday cards by mail, so he is really appreciative of the gesture. Last year she sent the same cousin a birthday card. I told my wife then why just sent him an electronic card via e-mail or just greet him in my Face Book account. My wife says she is not too comfortable doing on-line work and it is much easier for her to send the card by post office mail. I hope there are still several hundred thousands of senior citizens( or not) who are not comfortable using the computer. They will be the saviour of the US Postal Service.

Note 2**: The number of jobless in the U. S., according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, rose to 9.2 (14.1 million individuals) percent for the month of June, up a percentage point from May. That is the official number. But if one considers the marginally attached, the part-timers that are underemployed (hopeful of gaining full-time or more meaningful employment), and the discouraged (no longer looking for work), the statistics are actually higher -- 16.2 percent (24.9 million individuals).

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lowest and Highest Point in My Professional Career

Mt McKinley-the highest point in the United States

I have often been asked by friends and relatives, what were the lowest and highest point in my professional career as a Chemist here in US. Without hesitation and doubt, my most unhappiest moment or the lowest point in my career was when I was laid off with only one day notice (fired/restructuring) from my job as a Principal Research Chemist for Stauffer Chemical Company in Richmond, California.

Also without hesitation, I can state without doubt that the happiest moment or the highest point in my professional career was my promotion to Chemistry Team Leader in FDA including the award I received for expediting the manufacture of a burn ointment needed by the terrorist victims of the 9/11/01 bombing in New York and Washington, D.C.

The following are excerpts from my autobiography, on the two unforgettable events(low and high) in my professional life.(http://theintellectualmigrant.blogspot.com)

Lowest Point in My Professional Career:The Death Valley of My Life

In 1974, I had a choice of working for a private company or the Federal government. I chose to work for Stauffer Chemicals in Richmond, California because I needed the money (higher salary than what the Federal Government was offering me at that time). I started as a Research Chemist and after 10 years (1984) reached the position of Principal Research Chemist. This is the highest technical position ( without supervisory duties) attainable in the company at that time. In 1986, a mass of layoffs occurred at Stauffer Chemicals. The company was getting out of the pesticide business. I was one of 60 employees relieve of our duties after just one day of notice. I just can not described the feeling of being laid off after 12 years of service and good performance. You feel betrayed and unappreciated, and envious of the other employees not fired. How I wish I took the Federal job offered to me at the time. With this experience, I vowed I will never work for a private company*.

Death Valley-the lowest point in the United States

Highest Point in My Professional Career-The Mt McKinley of My Life

I was hired by FDA as a Research Chemist in 1990. In 1994, I was promoted as Expert Research Chemist( GS-14). In 1997, I was again promoted to Chemistry Team Leader, supervising the work of six reviewers ( five with doctorate degrees). As far as I know, I was the first Filipino-American who has achieved this position in FDA. As team leader, I was responsible for prioritizing, assigning, and assuring the technical accuracy of all chemistry, manufacturing and control issues for all new drug applications submitted to the Division of Anti-Infective Drug Products. As team leader, I also give advice, instruct and promote high morale and teamwork in my group. In 1998, I won the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Award. The citation reads, “For outstanding accomplishments in fostering the objectives of the EEO Program by hiring minorities and encouraging their professional growth while providing excellent leadership.”

I have received numerous certificates of appreciation, awards in leadership and communications, commendation for teamwork and excellence in the accomplishment of the FDA mission. I have also received several letters of appreciation from private industry for my review work.

In 1995, I was elected to the United States Pharmacopeia, (USP), Committee of Revision(CR), Standards Division. As an elected member, I was responsible for establishing standards of identity, safety, quality, purity of drug substances and drug products as well as in-vitro and diagnostics products, dietary supplements and related articles used in health care. Election to this body is a very selected process. It is held every five years. In 1995, there were more than 700 scientists nation-wide from academia, government, and industry who volunteered to serve. USP narrowed it down to 256 final nominees. Of the 256, only 128 were elected. Election to the USP Committee of Revision confirms that the person is both the national and international expert in the field of election. In my case, it was in the field of antibiotics, natural products and botanicals.

The University of the Philippines Alumni Newsletter congratulated me with this statement, “ We join with your colleagues and your family in congratulating you for this singular honor, which brings prestige to the Philippines as well”. In March, 2000 I was reelected for another 5 year term.

My career in FDA would not be complete if I do not mentioned the terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. I remember clearly what I was doing and how I felt afterward. That morning in September 11, 2001, The office of New Drug Chemistry had a joint meeting with representatives of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PHARMA) at the Hilton Hotel in Gaithersburg, MD. At about 9:20 AM, we received an announcement that the meeting is canceled and we can go home, since the World Trade Center in New York was burning. All of the attendees went to the hotel lobby and the TV was announcing the news. I felt sick, depressed but helpless to see the burning WTC building. Later, I learned that the Pentagon in Washington DC was also bombed and another plane crashed in the field somewhere in Southern Pennsylvania. I also found out that this United Airline plane was intended for the White House. Had it not been for the courageous heroics of several passengers, the White House would have suffered the same fate as the WTC and the Pentagon.

The most heinous crime of the century produced thousands of burnt victims. Two drugs in my Division, Sulfamylon and Silvadene, approved for the treatment of burns were out of supply. A chemistry manufacturing supplement has to be approved as soon as possible to manufacture more of these ointments in a new facility. This required a review by the chemist, an inspection of the facility by a field inspector, my approval as the chemistry team leader plus the paper work by the project manager. The drugs are needed immediately, so we have to do an expedited review of the manufacturing supplement. It took us only 12 hours to approve the new facility and the review of the chemistry supplement and its manufacturing and control procedures. This review normally will take at least one month to three months depending on the availability of the field inspector and the schedule of the review chemist.

In December, 2001, the four members of my review team received a special cash award and recognition award from FDA management for our work on expediting review of two drugs, Sulfamylon and Silvadene. Of my more than a dozen awards I had, this one is the most appreciated. I felt that I have done my job as a public servant and had helped the victims of the terrorist attack in a timely manner. In January, 2002 I received another award for my work on Doxycycline, an antibiotic needed to treat anthrax victims due to bio terrorism activities from unknown terrorists.

*Afterthought: I should really thank Stauffer Chemical Company management for firing me even after 12 years of excellent performance. This experience gave me an incentive to work for the Federal Government, otherwise, I would probably be working in the laboratory all my life. FDA had challenged me to my utmost ability. I learned not only to be a "work" oriented but also a "people" oriented human being. My 12 years in FDA had been the most productive and satisfying years of my professional career.

Note: For continuation of my FDA employment experiences, read http://lifeinus1960present.blogspot.com or my autobiography above.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wine and Health-Part 2

This is Part 2 of the article Wine and Health by Frank Cabunoc, guest blogger from Fairfield, California. Frank is a wine aficionado and indeed a true oenophile.

In over 400 studies conducted around the world, many of them long-term and in large populations, they have concluded that most healthy people who drink wine regularly and moderately live longer. The only group exception, whose members should not consume any alcohol, is pre-menopausal women with a family history of breast cancer.

Wine’s nutritional content is minimal, inasmuch as there is no fat, cholesterol, or dietary fiber in any wine. It is only with excessive drinking would anyone reach their Minimum Daily Requirement for calories, carbohydrates, sodium, protein, vitamins or minerals, all of which all wines contain insignificantly. Each one’s specific content varies between types of wine, based upon color, alcoholic strength and residual sugar. The key to the beneficial aspects of drinking wine are regularity and moderation. The importance of this consumption pattern cannot be over emphasized. An occasional serving of wine is better than none, but overindulgence can be considerably more harmful than total abstinence.

Regular moderate wine drinking was discovered to be the one consistency. Studies in England found the occurrence of coronary disease to be much higher in heavy or binge drinkers and even higher in abstainers. It is very important to note that Europeans generally drink wine and water with their meals.

Wine is not a cure-all and not everyone should drink wine. There are instances when no one should drink any alcohol. When combined with specific over-the-counter or prescription drugs, for example, alcohol in any form can produce an adverse reaction. Wine should not be furnished to people with inflammations of the digestive tract, peptic ulcers, liver disease, pancreatitis, kidney or urinary infections, prostate disorders, epilepsy, or alcoholism. As mentioned earlier, pre-menopausal women with a family history of breast cancer should abstain from drinking any alcohol, including wine.

Excessive drinking or overindulgence is possibly the worst health problem of consuming wine or any alcoholic beverage. Ingesting too much ethanol at one time will cause headaches, nausea, and other symptoms for anyone, regardless of individual tolerance to other compounds in wine. Drinking alcohol too much or too fast leads to loss of control and judgment. A couple of glasses of wine may help relaxation and lower blood pressure, but four or more raises blood pressure to a level of concern.

When wine is consumed, alcohol enters the bloodstream while it passes from the stomach to the small intestine and continues to the liver which uses an enzyme called dehydrogenase to break down and eliminate alcohol from the body. Medical evidence suggests factors of body size; muscle mass, food intake, gender, and experience affect one's capacity to avoid drunkenness to some degree. On average, a healthy human can metabolize one-half ounce of alcohol per hour. The best rule to follow is to not consume more than one drink or 4 ounces of wine per hour, regardless of size, sex, or a full stomach.

Whenever it is practiced in moderation and consumed with food at mealtime, wine drinking may develop cultural and sociological patterns that actually help to prevent alcoholism. The vast majority of healthy individuals may enjoy wine regularly and moderately as a pleasure that supports and prolongs a gracious life. Here's another video on benefits of wine in moderation.

Note: I agree with the last sentence(in bold). If you are a beer drinker, could you site an article on the health benefits of beer. Again, here's my toast to you all my readers, Salud, Peseta y Amor!( Health, Money and Love).!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wine and Health-Part 1

Yesterday, I posted an article discussing which is better for your health, wine or beer. I indicated that there were more articles in the Web indicating that wine is better than beer. Today, I have another article from Frank Cabunoc, guest blogger from Fairfield, California, on Wine and Health. You are reading Part 1 now. I will post Part 2 tomorrow. Again, enjoy this very informative article.
Wine and Health

Wine has been used by man for ages and there is enough evidence of the benefits derived from drinking wines. It has been used for spiritual enrichment and to cure health problems for thousands of years. Modern science is proving what many cultures have known for many years, that moderate wine consumption is good for your health. There has been a vast spending of money into research studying wine and disease. Because of the complexity of disease, a direct correlation between wine and health is difficult to establish. But there are trends that are evident that indicate potential positive benefits of moderate wine consumption.

Behind all of the medical claims about wine and health is scientific evidence. The science of wine and health is receiving attention from both the medical community and wine lovers alike. Researchers are constantly learning about the chemicals and processes involved with wine and the human body. What we do know provides the backbone for physicians and researchers to find the association between wine and health.

Most of the pathogens that threaten human lives are inhibited or killed off by the acids and alcohols in wine. Because of this fact, wine was considered to be a safer drink than much of the available drinking water up until the 18th century. The alcohol in wine is a mild natural tranquilizer which reduces anxiety and tension. As part of a normal beverage with meals, wine provides the body with energy, with substances that aid digestion, and with small amounts of minerals and vitamins, and it also stimulates the appetite. Moreover, wine works to restore nutritional balance, relieve tension, sedate and act as a mild euphoric agent to the convalescent and the aged.

In the 1970s, a cardiovascular study showed moderate drinkers had 50 per cent fewer deaths from coronary disease than non-drinkers. The country of France has one of the lowest rates of heart disease in the developed world despite their high fat diets, smoking and drinking. The French have the highest per capita wine consumption in the world. This phenomenon is known as The French Paradox, and the results of this study changed our view on wine and health. The typical diet of people in France includes a very high proportion of cheese, butter, eggs, organ meats, and other fatty and cholesterol-laden foods. This diet would seem to promote heart disease, but the rate of heart disease among the French was discovered to be much lower than Americans. Herein lay the paradox.

Moderate and regular consumption of red wine may prevent coronary disease and some forms of cancer. The chemicals responsible are catechins, also known as flavanoids and related to tannins. The catechins function as anti-oxidants, they prevent molecules known as free-radicals from doing cellular damage. One particular form of flavanoids, called oligomeric procyanidin, proved to prevent hardening of the arteries.

There are chemical compounds in grapes and wine especially red wine, grape juice, dark beers and tea, but are absent in white wine, light beers and spirits called resveratrol and quercetin. Many clinical and statistical evidence and laboratory studies have shown these may boost the immune system, block cancer formation, and possibly protect against heart disease and even prolong life. A recent study indicates that resveratrol also inhibits formation of a protein that produces a condition called cardio fibrosis, which reduces the heart's pumping efficiency when it is needed most, at times of stress. More proof suggests that wine dilates the small blood vessels and helps to prevent angina and clotting. Moreover, the alcohol in wine helps balance cholesterol towards the good type.

Research on obesity and extending life span is ongoing, and it is a mistake for anyone to radically change their consumption pattern based on preliminary data. A study of obese mice showed that doses of resveratrol prolonged their life spans, but for a human to duplicate this dosage using wine, one would need to drink over 250 gallons per day.

Wine consumption might even preserve cognitive function in the frail and weak elderly. Many European studies have shown the prophylactic effects of regular light to moderate alcohol consumption may include the prevention or postponement of Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s diseases and other forms of dementia. It begs us to ask if wine could be the original brain food.

Another study showed that moderate, regular consumption of wine or beer decreases the risk of peptic ulcers and may help to rid the body of the bacteria suspected of causing them. In contrast, both over-consumption, especially of beer, and any regular consumption of spirits at all, even at a low level, seemed to increase the ulcer risks.

Other medical research and studies point to multiple benefits of regular moderate wine drinking that may include lowered risks of stroke, colorectal tumors, skin and other types of cancers, senile dementia, and even the common cold, as well as reduce the effects of scarring from radiation treatments.

Here's a video about red wine. CHEERS!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wine versus Beer: Which One is Better For You?

My next door neighbor is a beer drinker. He claims it is better than wine. I did not agree with him. We had an interesting discussion on the subject that lasted for 15minutes. At the end of our friendly debate, I told him, I will do some web search on the subject and post it in my blogs. There are several excellent articles on the subject. Several articles stated wine is the winner and only one article states beer is better. Here's an article that confirms my belief than wine is better for your health than beer.

Medical researchers have known for quite a while that drinking alcohol moderately seems to have a beneficial effect on health, particularly on heart disease. Now a new study by Danish researchers suggests that wine drinkers have a substantially lower death rate than people who drink other forms of alcohol, according to an article published in the Sept. 19 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

"There certainly seems to be a difference in the effect of drinking wine compared to beer or spirits. Wine drinkers appear to live longer," Morten Grønbæk, MD, tells WebMD. "Wine appears to have a beneficial effect on cancer mortality, as well as on mortality due to heart disease." Grønbæk is a research associate professor at the University of Copenhagen and lead author of the article.

"Alcohol is a pleasure many people enjoy, and it appears to actually make your arteries younger," Michael Roizen, MD, tells WebMD. "Alcohol in moderation seems to be beneficial unless a particular person has reasons to avoid it. We're talking here about small amounts of wine: one to two drinks per day for a man, and one-half to one drink per day for a woman." Roizen is professor and chairman of the department of anesthesia and critical care at the University of Chicago School of Medicine and author of the book Real Age: Are You As Young As You Can Be?

In the study, researchers looked at survey data on drinking patterns for almost 25,000 men and women, as well as data on death rates from national registries. This is the largest study of its kind so far. They found wine drinkers decreased their risk of death by a third compared with nondrinkers. People who avoided wine but drank other forms of alcohol showed a 10% reduction, compared to nondrinkers.

This was after researchers took other lifestyle factors into consideration -- such as smoking, exercise, age, and education level -- that may have had an effect on the results.

"This is a very interesting and somewhat provocative finding," says Barry Meisenberg, MD. "It fits with numerous other studies that show alcohol can reduce overall mortality. If someone already has the habit of drinking small amounts of alcohol, they can take comfort from this study." Meisenberg is an associate professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

"However, alcohol is a two-edged sword," he emphasizes. "While small amounts may have beneficial effects on mortality, when you go much above that amount the effects are reversed. The exact transition point may differ for every individual." For this reason, he does not believe physicians or public health officials should advise people to drink alcohol.

There are many individual patients who should not consume even small amounts of alcohol, he notes, due to conditions such as gastritis, liver disease, or medications used for high blood pressure. Alcohol has lots of calories, so drinking alcoholic beverages could be a problem for people who are dealing with obesity. "Consumers should first discuss this issue with their own physicians to find out whether they have something in their personal health history that could make even small amounts of alcohol dangerous," says Meisenberg, who also is head of the division of hematology and oncology, and deputy director of the university's Greenebaum Cancer Center.

Source: Here's to Your Health: Wine vs. Beer, Spirits By Elaine Zablocki
WebMD Health NewsReviewed by Merle Diamond, MDSept. 18, 2000

Note: Macrine and I are both moderate wine and beer drinkers. In the Philippines we drink more beer than wine, because it is much cheaper and we love San Miquel beer. In the US, we drink more wine than beer, because of the numerous selection of good wines here in Northern California. How about you? Are you a wine or beer drinker, if you drink alcohol at all?

Monday, July 18, 2011

I am on the Waiting List on Google+ Social Networking Site

About three weeks ago, my friend who is a professional Blogger ( earns his living by blogging) informed me that he accepted the invitation of Google+ to join this new social net work site. He said it appears to be better than FaceBook, but since it is just starting, the impact of this site in attracting traffic to your site remains unknown. He suggested I sign for it with my current Google Account. The next day, I received an e-mail that the site is not ready for mass consumption and I will be placed on their waiting list. So what are the similarities of Google+ and Facebook. Has Google+ a shot at giving Facebook serious competition? Perhaps?

Google+ members must sort out friends into customizable groups called Circles. FaceBook on the other hand has Friends Lists option which can restrict who sees what you have posted in FB, but only 5% of members is using this option currently.

Googles+ has Hangouts allows 10 pals/friends to use webcams to hear and see each other. Facebook has now a new skyped-powered video calling( I have not tried this feature yet) that allows only one-to-one connection. I have used the Chat Feature in FB overseas and oftentimes it is so slow, but it works.

Face Book has third-party applications such as games-Farmville, Mafia Wars, etc which I hate, but Google+ has no third party applications so far.

Unlike Facebook, Googles+ lets you follow other members without getting their permission just like in Twitter. You do need however, to put every person you follow into one or more Circles, such as family, blogger friends, poker and bridge buddies, former office mates, etc...

Googles+ has just began opening its doors to VIP's and slowly admitting batches of wait listers. I am still waiting for Googles+ response regarding my request to join this social network, which I believe could add traffic to my blogs. How about you? Are you planning to join Googles+? Are you happy with FaceBook? Do you think Googles+ has a shot of giving FaceBook serious competition?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Casino Gambling and "Come Ons" for Senior Citizens

Casino owners and their advertising department are very smart,indeed. They offer the gamblers free slot money(from $5 to $30), free gifts and cheap lunches or dinners as well as all the soft drinks, or coffee that you can consumed all day. Last week Red Hawk Casino(RHC)offered seniors(55 and above),a buffet dinner or lunch for only $5.99on Tuesday and Thursday. The buffet has more than 250 selection of dishes, ranging from Chinese Dim sum, roast beef, pizza, seafood, oysters, shrimps, sushi, chicken and fish dishes, about 25 kinds of desserts, another 25 kinds of salads and a drink of your choice. Macrine and I enjoyed the buffet very much. We thought we had a good bargain. But at the end of 7 hours of slot playing, we both lost $100 each, our budget for the day. So our dinner cost us $200 not $12. However, we did have a grand time. We also received $30 free slot money and was able to play for an hour using casino money.

I had been writing about casino gambling in my blogs for the last two years. The reason why I am blogging again on this subject is the fact that Casino Gambling may be addictive. The "come ons" as I described above is very tempting. You may think, since the casino is giving you $30 free slot money, and offers you a cheap buffet, why not go to the casino every day or every week since you have plenty of time as a retiree. Remember that this offers are attempts to entice you to gamble and at the end you are the loser. Remember, to have a budget for your casino gambling activity and stick to it. Once you have spent the allocated amount in your budget for gambling entertainment, do other things besides hustling with the one-arm bandits. You will never win or become a millioner anyway and the odds are you will be the loser. Treat casino gambling as part of your entertainment activity and not as a way of getting rich. If you are bored, read a book, walk around the neighborhood and/or talk to your neighbors. Do other things and forget casino gambling and their tempting "come ons".

Note: In my case, if I get bored, I blog and do a little walking around the yard or talk to the neighbors. I also read books and/or watch my favorite TV shows. How about you? What do you do to avoid boredom as a retiree? Perhaps, if you are taking care of your grandchildren, this activity prevents boredom. But what do you do for entertainment? All of us need a respite from our daily activities to maintain our sanity in this complex society. Right? Please share!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What is Happiness? The Answer is in Your Hands!

Macrine and I attend Sunday mass every week in our local catholic church here in Northern California. This week mass was special because of the homily by a visiting priest. The priest talked about happiness and meaning of life. The priest told us a story of a young boy who found a baby bird that fell from its nest. It was alive but very weak. The boy picked up the baby bird and held it in his hands. He then went to his Dad with the bird in his closed hands. He asked his Dad. Could you guess if the bird in my hand is dead or alive. His Dad hesitated for a moment and gave his response. The answer is your hands, son.

His Dad thought that if says, the bird is alive, his son will just squeezed his hands tight and kill the baby bird to prove him wrong. If he says the baby bird is dead, his son may be so disappointed and very unhappy of his response. The story above, implies to me that happiness is in your hands and within you. The following article attempts to answer the question of what is happiness. It was written by a Budhist philosopher, Daisuku Ikeda from Japan.

What is the purpose of life? It is to become happy. Whatever country or society people live in, they all have the same deep desire: to become happy.

A young friend of mine once spent a long time trying to work out what happiness was, particularly happiness for women. When she first thought about happiness she saw it as a matter of becoming financially secure or getting married. (The view in Japanese society then was that happiness for a woman was only to be found in marriage.) But looking at friends who were married, she realized that marriage didn't necessarily guarantee happiness.

She saw couples who had been passionately in love suffering from discord soon after their wedding. She saw women who had married men with money or status but who fought constantly with their husbands.

Gradually, she realized that the secret of happiness lay in building a strong inner self that no trial or hardship could ruin. She saw that happiness for anyone - man or woman - does not come simply from having a formal education, from wealth or from marriage. It begins with having the strength to confront and conquer one's own weaknesses. Only then does it become possible to lead a truly happy life and enjoy a successful marriage.

She finally told me, "Now I can say with confidence that happiness doesn't exist in the past or in the future. It only exists within our state of life right now, here in the present, as we face the challenges of daily life."

I agree entirely. You yourself know best whether you are feeling joy or struggling with suffering. These things are not known to other people. Even a man who has great wealth, social recognition and many awards may still be shadowed by indescribable suffering deep in his heart. On the other hand, an elderly woman who is not fortunate financially, leading a simple life alone, may feel the sun of joy and happiness rising in her heart each day.

Happiness is not a life without problems, but rather the strength to overcome the problems that come our way. There is no such thing as a problem-free life; difficulties are unavoidable. But how we experience and react to our problems depends on us. Buddhism teaches that we are each responsible for our own happiness or unhappiness. Our vitality - the amount of energy or "life-force" we have - is in fact the single most important factor in determining whether or not we are happy.

True happiness is to be found within, in the state of our hearts. It does not exist on the far side of some distant mountains. It is within you, yourself. However much you try, you can never run away from yourself. And if you are weak, suffering will follow you wherever you go. You will never find happiness if you don't challenge your weaknesses and change yourself from within.

My teacher used to talk about two kinds of happiness - "relative" and "absolute" happiness. Relative happiness is happiness that depends on things outside ourselves: friends and family, surroundings, the size of our home or family income.

This is what we feel when a desire is fulfilled, or something we have longed for is obtained. While the happiness such things bring us is certainly real, the fact is that none of this lasts forever. Things change. People change. This kind of happiness shatters easily when external conditions alter.

Relative happiness is also based on comparison with others. We may feel this kind of happiness at having a newer or bigger home than the neighbors. But that feeling turns to misery the moment they start making new additions to theirs!

Absolute happiness, on the other hand, is something we must find within. It means establishing a state of life in which we are never defeated by trials and where just being alive is a source of great joy. This persists no matter what we might be lacking, or what might happen around us. A deep sense of joy is something which can only exist in the innermost reaches of our life, and which cannot be destroyed by any external forces. It is eternal and inexhaustible.

Source: The Book of Wisdom by Daisyku Ikeda, Budhist Philosopher

Note: The article above reminds me of one of my favorite quotes "Home is not a place but in the Heart".

Quote I learned from this article: "Absolute Happiness is something we must find within, thus can not be destroyed by any external forces. It is eternal and inexhaustible ".

Do you have any favorite quotes on Happiness? Please share!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Unforgetable and Memorable First Lines from My top Ten Favorite Books

Do you read books? If so what are you favorites and why? I used to read a lot of books before I started blogging. Today, I find I had no time to read leisurely, although occasionally, I will indulge in this pleasurable activity. Below are the
first lines from famous books that I loved. They are mostly the first sentence but sometimes the following sentences are included when the first sentence is short. This list of books is a mix of classics and modern novels. My favorite is Book #1. How about you? Are you a book reader or just A TV enthusiast? I suggest that even if you are not an avid book reader, try #1, #8 or #10. It will be worth your time, I promise.

1. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,....

2. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller: It was love at first sight. The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain he fell madly in love with him. Yossarian was in the hospital with a pain in his liver that fell just short of being jaundice.

3. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky: At the beginning of July, during a spell of exceptionally hot weather, towards evening, a certain young man came down on to the street from the little room he rented from some tenants in S--- Lane and slowly, almost hesitantly, set off towards K---n Bridge.

4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling: Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

5. Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka: As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.

6. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell: It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

7. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

8. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown: Renowned curator Jacques Sauniere staggered through the vaulted archway of the museum's Grand Gallery.

9. The Godfather by Mario Puzo: Amergo Bonasera sat in New York Criminal Court Number 3 and waited for justice; vengeance on the men who had cruelly hurt his daughter, who had tried to dishonor her.

10. Stupid White Men by Michael Moore: I am a citizen of the United States of America. Our government has been overthrown. Our elected President has been exiled. Old white men wielding martinis and wearing dickies have occupied our nation's capital.

Source: Andy of pubquizhelp.com

Note: How many of the above books have you read?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Joke of the Month-You must be a Congressman?

Most Popular Ex-Congressman in US ( Image from poorlyrun.com)

A cowboy named Bud was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous pasture in Montana when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced toward him out of a cloud of dust.

The driver, a young man in a Brioni® suit, Gucci® shoes, RayBan® sunglasses and YSL® tie, leaned out the window and asked the cowboy, "If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?"

Bud looks at the man, who obviously is a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, "Sure, why not?"

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell® notebook computer, connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3® cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to a NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra high-resolution photo.

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop® and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany.

Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot® that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses an MS-SQL® database through an ODBC connected Excel® spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry® and, after a few minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet® printer, turns to the cowboy and says, "You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves."

"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves," says Bud.

He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on with amusement as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.

Then Bud says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?"

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, "Okay, why not?"

"You're a Congressman for the U.S. Government", says Bud.

"Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"

"No guessing required." answered the cowboy. "You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You used millions of dollars worth of equipment trying to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don't know a thing about how working people make a living - or about cows, for that matter. This is a herd of sheep.

Now give me back my dog.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Search For the Fountain of Youth

The following article by Cory Quirino published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on June 21, 2011 attracted my attention. It is a must read not only for senior citizens like me but also for everybody who wants to stay young, happy and live longer.

"Writing this wellness column continues to be a joyful journey toward the fulfillment of my own personal advocacy—to keep all of us young and healthy.

First, it’s exactly what the song says—let’s get physical. You need to hear your body talk. Every time you move, your body not only gets an external workout, it also receives an internal shake-up. And this is a good thing.

Exercise regulates neuropeptides (any of the molecules composed of short chains of amino acids—endorphins, enkephalins, vasopressin, found in brain tissue). And the neuropeptide beta-endorphin cocktail, which is the result of exercise, reduces stress and promotes a feeling of euphoria while reducing anxiety and depression.

Any regular body movement sustained for 20-30 minutes will stimulate the production of neuropeptides, which contribute to a feeling of youthful exuberance and a radiant glow.

Try balancing your exercise regimen with a combination of cardiovascular and aerobic workout (running, walking and dancing), weight resistance/strength training, gym workouts and flexibility/stretching (like Pilates, yoga, swimming).

Did you know that resistance training releases growth hormones and simultaneously lowers cortisol (stress hormone) levels and stress?

Fit with fiber

You’ve heard this before. Fiber slows down the absorption of food. It keeps your blood sugar levels from spiking. That’s right. No sudden peaks and valleys on your blood sugar level means that the environment inside your body is stable. It’s what all medical experts agree on—in order to be healthy, stable blood sugar levels must be maintained. Any wild increase will only upset biological harmony.

Combine soluble and insoluble fiber such as fruits and vegetables, oats, barley lentil, beans in your diet.

Most people avoid nuts because they fear uric acid. In truth, nuts may be high in fat and calories but they also prevent obesity and actually help you lose weight.


A moderate diet that includes 35-percent calories from fats helps maintain regular weight loss. Fats from nuts have antioxidant properties: polyphenols and healthy proteins.

Phytic acid, a natural plant antioxidant in nuts and seeds, has the power to reduce inflammation. The skin or soft outer covering of nuts is associated with reduced risk of cancer.

Beta-sisterol and campestrol, two phytosterols found in nuts, are also said to appear to inhibit breast and prostate tumors. While arginine, an amino acid, also inhibits tumor growth. Almonds seem to have more potency than other nuts.

Ellagic acid, contained in berries, is a cancer-fighting polypherol, and is also abundant in walnuts. Walnuts are high in alpha linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that ensures heart protection and blood circulation.

Selenium is another anti-cancer mineral found in brazil nuts. If studies could be undertaken on the pili nut, whose fleshy nut is almost like the consistency of brazil nuts, these may prove that Philippine nut is also selenium-rich.

Caution: Never leave nuts exposed to high temperatures, because they are susceptible to oxidation. They can turn rancid immediately. Store them inside airtight containers, in the refrigerator or freezer.

You can maximize the nutritional value of nuts by soaking them in salted water for 6 hours, then drain and oven-dry on low heat.

If you want to reduce your blood pressure, eat a few nuts daily, because it is rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium—well-known minerals that enhance the blood.

Happy Pill

Is there such a thing? Actually, this proverbial pill is more of a state-of-mind. Happiness is really a choice. You either make a decision to be in this state of joy or not. That is how powerful the mind is over the body.

By choosing happiness, you also choose health.

Affirm today: “I am forever young.”

May your search for the Fountain of Youth be attained soon! Your Grand Pa Blogger

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ditas Katague, Chief of Staff, California Public Utilities Commission

Here's the latest news about my youngest daughter, Ditas. I am indeed very proud of her accomplishments. Keep up with the good work, my big Pangga!

"Ditas Katague was appointed by Governor Brown in March 2011 as Commissioner Sandoval’s Chief of Staff( California Public Utilities Commission).

Ditas has more than 20 years of experience at federal, state and local government agencies as well as in private and non-profit sectors. Prior to coming to the CPUC, Ditas was Chief Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Corporations.

She also served in the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research as Director of Census 2010 and is an expert in civic engagement and public participation. She was also Assistant Secretary for Transportation at the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.

In the private sector, she was First Vice President, State and Local Government Affairs for Countrywide Financial where she managed and maintained legislative coverage and activities in the top tier western states (20 states), analyzed state and local laws and regulations that impact the corporation’s priority business objectives. Ditas was also a manager for Deloitte Consulting’s Public Sector practice in New Jersey and Sacramento where she provided project management, business process improvement, reorganization and transition management, change leadership, and communications and public relations consulting services.

In the non-profit sector, Ditas was the Program Director for the non-profit California Telemedicine & eHealth Center.

Ditas has a B.A. in Social Sciences and Practice of Art (double major) from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Masters in Public Administration (Intergovernmental Management and Organization Development) from the University of Southern California School of Policy, Planning and Development.

Ditas is based in Sacramento".

Source: California Public Utilities Commission Newsletter

Monday, July 11, 2011

Obsession for Numbers 7 and 11 published on 7-11-11 at 7:11 AM

Do you have an obsession for the number 11?. I have a cousin in the Philippines who is obsessed with this number,that he is giving a party this coming November 11,2011at 11:11 AM for only 111 guests to celebrate his 65 birthday (6+5=11). He will served 11 dishes starting with soup, salad, an appetizer and 7 main dishes and dessert his birthday cake (with 11 candles). I also have a niece who will turn 11 years old this coming November 11, 2011. Her party will have 11 of her school mates as guests and again the luncheon will start at exactly 11:11 AM. So what is the obsession on number 11? Here's some interesting information from the Web.

1. Mathematics
The number eleven is the sixth prime number. The base numeric number system lends itself to some interesting peculiarities as relates to the number eleven.

Base 10 for example:

(2 digits) 11 x 11 = 121

(6 digits) 111111 x 111111 = 12345654321

(9 digits) 111111111 x 111111111 = 12345678987654321

Base 16 (hexadecimal) for example:

(2 digits) 11 x 11 = 121

(6 digits) 111111 x 111111 = 12345654321

(9 digits) 111111111 x 111111111 = 12345678987654321

Blackjack players love the number seven and eleven. It usually means time to double down, but not always.

Dice players love the number eleven. On the come-out roll, it’s as good as the number seven. Do not ask the crap dealers how to bet 11 the hard way.

The number eleven is a popular lottery number. This results in the per-person payouts being a little below average when eleven is one of the winning numbers.

The number eleven is a popular keno number. One wonders if the casinos and slot machine manufacturers make use of that fact.

3. Historical
The Great Blue Norther of 11/11/11: "One-hundred years ago, November 11th, 1911: The Great Blue Norther descended upon America. The day started fine; there were even record highs for that time of year. Then it all changed; temperatures began to drop. Within the space of ten minute: the temperature dropped 40 to 50 degrees; by midnight a 66 degree temperature drop was recorded. There were dust storms, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and blizzards. Over 300 deaths were reported."

In the interests of full disclosure: NOAA.gov reports that sudden 50 degree temperature drops, though unusual, are not that rare.

The Great Blue Norther acquired its name not from the extreme temperature changes, but from the accompanying weather phenomena.

See the following video for details:

*Note: July this year have 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. This happens only once in 823 years. Lastly, adding up the last two digits of the year you were born and the age you will be this year is always equal to 111 Try it! Interesting!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Top Five Reasons for Divorce

My posting yesterday was my reaction when I learned that our oldest daughter after being married for 27 years decided that she is going to get a divorce. This initiated my desire to search in the Web for the reasons why couple divorce.
Here it is :

1. Infidelity: It could be argued that infidelity within marriages is a reaction by a spouse to the real breakdown of the marriage, and is not itself the cause. Either way, it is cited as the cause of almost one third of divorces ins the USA (making it the most common reason for divorce). Surveys have shown that adultery occurs in over half of failed marriages. Spouses may be unfaithful consistently during an affair, intermittently, or just once in a one night stand. Common explanations for unfaithfulness include resentment or anger (with the other spouse) and sexual boredom.

2. Communication breakdown: Commonly, couples become unable to communicate in a normal, meaningful fashion. Either spouse's inability to avoid exchanges which invariably result in conflict is representative of a communication breakdown in the marriage. In extreme cases (especially if accompanied by abusive tendencies), a growing inability to deal with any verbal exchanges without conflict could be indicative of a much more serious problem that requires the attention of a mental health professional. More often, however, growing differences between the spouses which may have their roots in other mentioned causes are to blame for communication breakdowns.

3. Physical, psychological, or emotional abuse: Where either spouse is frequently abusive towards children or each other, the other spouse has clear grounds for divorce. Physical abuse includes all types violence (fighting, manhandling, and physical bullying of an individual). Emotional or Psychological and abuse can be as seemingly innocuous as verbal insults, and can range to taunting, humiliation, intimidation, and consistent negative reinforcement.

4. Financial issues: One of the most common reasons for divorce is economic strain or collapse of the family. Every couple has to deal with money at some stage, and when there is not enough to go around, differences in temperament and priorities are brought to a head. Even if there is no debt incurred, disagreements over the allocation of money often be enough to end an already irritated relationship.

5. Boredom: Biologically speaking, humans' preference is to pair for about seven years before changing mates. While well matched couples will, naturally, stay together for much longer than this, and possibly for life, most do not. Some couples will eventually grow distant, disinterested, and eventually bored with each other. Such divorces are often the least bitter of all, and often end amiably enough.


Note: If you are divorced, is the reason any one of the five above? Please share it with my readers if it is not too personal or painful for you. Cheers!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Getting Divorce After 27 years of Marriage!

My daughter announced last week in FaceBook that she is getting a divorce from her husband of 27 years. I was so shocked my voice trembled as I told my wife of what I had just read in FB. My wife and I had no hint that her marriage had not been happy. We just visited them four weeks ago and stayed overnight and we did not see any signs of unhappiness in the house. We know they have financial problems, since they have no luck selling their house because of the depressed real estate market here in California. After recovering from the initial shock, I told my wife to call our daughter and tell her we support her decision and if there is anything we can help( except financially) to just let us know. My daughter has two adult children 20 and 18years old. They are both in college. The announcement( titled new Adventures) was simultaneously posted in FB by both my daughter and son-in-law. Today, my wife is still upset and asked me if it was her mistake/fault that our daughter is getting a divorce, that is we did not raised our children right. I responded definitely not and told her not blame herself of what is happening now in our daughter lives . This sad news however inspired me to do an Internet search on Divorce Statistics here in US. Here's what I found.

Divorce Statistics in America

Current divorce statistics in America is estimated at 50%.This data is not accurately correct, however, it is reasonably close to actual. The Americans for Divorce Reform estimates that "Probably, 40 or possibly even 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce if current trends continue.", which is actually a projection. *

Source of this Divorce Statistics: Jennifer Baker, Forest Institute of Professional Psychology,Springfield

The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%. The divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60%. The divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%.
* Source of this Divorce Statistics: Discover Channel

Description Statistics

State with the lowest divorce rate Massachusetts (2.4 per 1,000 population)
State with the highest divorce rate Nevada (9.1 per 1,000 population)
Percentage of US population that is divorced 10%
Mean age at first divorce For Males: 30.5 yrs.
For Females: 29 yrs.
Median age at second divorce For Males: 39.3 yrs.
For Females: 37 yrs.
Median number of years people wait to remarry after their first divorce For Males: 3.3 yrs.
For Females: 3.1 yrs.
Average length of divorce proceedings 1 year.

* Source of this Divorce Statistics: Divorce Magazine

Note: My daughter says this is going to be an amicable divorce and they will continue to raise their two children as co-parents even though they are already adults. On another side note, I asked my wife of 54 years and 2 months, if there was a day in our marriage life that she felt like divorcing me. She replied never, but several times I feel like killing you! So, to all my readers that are still happily married, my advice is to share 100-100 not 50-50. 100-100 sharing means you accept your mate totally not only his strength but also his or her faults and weaknesses as well. There is no perfect human being. That we all agree!

My next posting on this subject will be a list of the most common reasons of divorce in US. Have a Good Day or Night to you All!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Computer Addiction and Its Harmful Effects

Macrine's nephew has been suffering from computer addiction since he was in college (10 years ago). Let us call him Jim ( not his real name) for this posting. The irony and sad fact is that computer science was his major. Because of this disorder, it took him six years to graduate for a 4 years course with the constant nagging of his DAD. After graduation, his DAD literally forced him to take a job. He stayed only 4 weeks in his job. He was either fired or he quit.

Today, Jim lives alone in the ancestral home of the family here in US. He is jobless. Lucky for him, he has an older brother who is single that supports him. He has no friends and goes out of the house once week to buy his groceries. I talked to his brother last month and inquired about Jim. He is getting worse and not communicative. The family wanted to commit him to a public mental hospital, but he would not go in his own free will. The family has no financial resources to get private medical help, because he has no insurance nor is he covered with his brother's insurance. According to his brother, he seemed to be physically healthy, but not communicating at all. When you talk to Jim, he just gave you a blank stare according to his older brother. I feel sorry for the brothers, but there is nothing Macrine and I can do. I found the following article on Computer Addiction very informative.

"Computer addiction is a loosely used term for the excessive use of computers to the extent that it interferes with daily life. Excessive use may explain problems in social interaction, mood, personality, work ethic, relationships, thought processes, or sleep deprivation. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders does not include a diagnosis for such a disorder.

The term computer addiction originated long before the Internet. Some people develop bad habits in their computer use that cause them significant problems in their lives. The types of behavior and negative consequences are similar to those of other known addictive disorders.

Excessive computer use may result in, or occur with:

Lack of social interaction.
Using the computer for pleasure, gratification, or relief from stress.
Feeling irritable and out of control or depressed when not using it.
Spending increasing amounts of time and money on hardware, software, magazines, and computer-related activities.
Neglecting work, school, or family obligations.
Lying about the amount of time spent on computer activities.
Risking loss of career goals, educational objectives, and personal relationships.
Failing at repeated efforts to control computer use. Here's a short video for your viewing pleasure.

Source: Wikipedia

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Lady Gaga's Two Most Recent Videos-She's a He also

The following two videos are the most recent videos of Lady Gaga.

Born this Way
The first video, above-"Born this Way" reminds me of the rumor that Lady Gaga is a hermaphrodite- that is she has a penis and a vagina, but she considers herself a "she". The article below appears to have confirmed this rumors. Personally, I do not care whether she has a penis or not, I still love listening to her videos.

"A picture circulating around the internet seems to prove that Lady Gaga is a man, or at least a hermaphrodite. Gaga was on stage for a performance when the video exposing her apparent Disco Stick was filmed; the singer was straddling a scooter when she was caught adjusting herself, she then dismounted the scooter and gave the world a glimpse of a lot more than just her Poker Face. Well, more of her poker, less of her face.

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, better known as Lady Gaga, allegedly confirmed previously that she was indeed a hermaphrodite saying,
“It’s not something that I’m ashamed of, just isn’t something that I go around telling everyone,” she said. “Yes. I have both male and female genitalia, but I consider myself a female. It’s just a little bit of a penis and really doesn’t interfere much with my life. “The reason I haven’t talked about it is that it’s not a big deal to me. Like come on. It’s not like we all go around talking about our vags. I think this is a great opportunity to make other multiple gendered people feel more comfortable with their bodies. I’m sexy, I’m hot. I have both a poon and a peener. Big f*cking deal.”


References: Continue reading at NowPublic.com: Lady Gaga is a Man: The Chick's Got a Disco Stick
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