Greed, Lust, and TV Commercials

After telling people to read my blog, I have not been writing anything. I guess that might be because typing is not easy any more. The arthritis in my hands, especially the left one, makes typing difficult. So I am getting Dragon Naturally Speaking installed on the computer, then I can just speak and it will “type” for me. Also, My eyes are not getting better, yet, and looking at a screen is not so easy, especially if the screen is white. Some one suggested that I turn down the brightness, but then I cannot see anything.
The internet is especially hard to read because all the pages seem to use a light background with even a lighter colour for the font. If these developers were intelligent, they would understand that not everyone, including younger people, can read what is on the page without squinting. I do use larger fonts for myself and I set the screen to have larger than normal items. Sort of messes up how the screen looks sometimes – items fall off the page; little things like that.

A few days ago, or was it weeks ago, I made a comment on Facebook about television commercials. About the only things I watch on TV are on Animal Planet, Discovery, and Discovery Science, and the news, especially BBC. Unfortunately one is not immune to Wall Street and the commercials sneak in. And I do mean sneak – not like the past when there would be a “break”. Now, when the appearance is that the news or whatever is continuing, about five seconds in, I realise it’s a commercial. Then, again, maybe that is age sneaking in.

My comment was how much commercials appeal to one of the seven deadly sins, especially lust. I received some comments back, which apparently try to justify these actions in commercials through longevity or the “everybody does it” reasoning. I am happy that our medical science never kept up that approach. I do not think I would enjoy being bled to cure a fever or having leaches put on me to heal a broken bone which discoloured the skin. But, this seemed to be the reasoning people were giving and using extensively to justify almost pornographic material being directed at the viewing public, including children.
Some remarks even suggested that all the deadly sins were in the Bible, thereby giving some sort of legitimacy to what is happening today on television. I can only say, again, just because these things were happening 5,000 years ago, maybe more, does not make what is done now a good thing to do. They were in the Bible usually because the writers, being inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote to tell everyone to stop before something really serious happened. The people did not listen and look at some of the troubles they had. King David, beloved by God, sang more songs (Psalms) of repentance than anything else. Look at Psalm 50 (51). He laments and repents of what he did to Uriah. He even states that a broken spirit and contrite heart God will not despise, because God will not accept his offering of a young bullock. And, how would you like your entire country being taken some place else and everyone made slaves?
Just because there are murders and lust and greed, and other sins in the Bible does not mean that God condoned them. As I wrote above, these things happened to the detriment of the Israelites – not always but most of the time. Did not want to get into the Bible so much as to the seven deadly sins. Yes, I know they come from the Bible, but many people who are not so inclined to be reading the Bible seem to recognise lust and greed.
The problems of the current world economy can be attributed to greed. Even news commentators have mentioned that. And, I do not want to hear or read that it is God’s wrath causing these problems. God does not have to get involved. We do this ourselves. It is rather obvious, at least to me that, when people can only think of themselves, there are problems somewhere along the way.
Once when I was in a meeting of staff members at a banque, which shall remain nameless, the Human Resources representative was telling the people that if they did not like the way the banque was being run, they could go elsewhere to try to find a job. The problem was, that while inflation was at 4%, salaries were being increased by only 2% with an effective increase of .75 to 1% (do not forget taxes). When asked why, the representative responded by saying that the banque had experienced greater expenses and losses than anticipated. To which, some one in the group said, then let’s fire the CEO and save lots of money. That brought great laughter from all except from the HR rep!
Is it not true that the CEO is paid these high salaries to take responsibility for expenses and losses? That is what I was taught in business classes. But, then. what do I know? I am just a human being, trying to be a good Orthodox Christian.

Thank you for reading.
(If you would like a recorded copy of this blog, please send me a message either through the comments or at my email address (kebowles [at] gmail [point] com) with Greed, Lust, and TV Commercials in the subject line and “recorded blog” in the body. Thanks, again, for reading.)


Not much which is new around here, but I did get the other notebook or laptop, whatever they are called these days, working with legitimate software. Microsoft has figured a way to stop that so-called cracked software from working. So, the OS, if not activated within 30 days after installation, will disable several features and keep notifying you that you have fraudulent software installed. Actually, I like that feature. Something needs to be done about pirated software. I am tired of paying for other people stealing from software developers.

I lent one of my laptops to a friend. When I got it back this past August, it had a Professional version of Windows 7, which had already reached the deactivation period. Not understanding what was going on, I tried to connect it to the home network. It would not connect. I took the laptop into a repair place and requested the hard drive to be formatted, since I had recovery discs. It is impossible, according to all the forums I read, to format a HD running Windows 7 without having an external HD. I was not about to go buy an HD just so I could run a format programme. The recovery discs I had would not work, so the repair place put a copy of Windows 7 on for me. You gussed it – not activated and no key to activate it. And he put 32bit Windows and my laptop is 64bit.

So, I bought Windows 7 Home Premium version from Microsoft to download. The dowload, a 64bit version, would not install because a 32bit version was already installed and the download wanted the key code for the previous version.  So, I had to request a disc from Microsoft. Then back to a different store with the disc and explain what I needed done. I got the laptop back the same day with my Windows loaded and activated.

In the Phillipines, the attitude is that pirated software is a fact of life. Don’t like it; too bad.  I attempted to explain that pirating, or stealing, software causes other people, who buy legitimate software, to pay more for it. No one seemed to care about that. When I tried to explain it from the perspective of a developer and make them as the developer and how, when their programme was stolen, they lost money. That didn”t seem to make sense, either. Maybe I just do not explain things well or there is a communication problem.

Since, according to the National Statistics Office, the Philippines is between 92 and 98 % Catholic, I tried the approach of Thou shall not steal. I guess there is a lot of “Relative Theology” here. By that, I mean, if it is a “fact of life” (see above) or “Everyone does it”, the Commands, statutes, and doctrines of the Roman Church are void. Of course, too, that 92 to 98% Catholic is sort of a guesstimate, since the NSO gets information from baptismal records of parishes, birth certificates (yes, in the Philippines the religion of the mother and father is recorded on birth certificates and on Marriage Licenses), and marriage certificates.  (If you are not Catholic, you are Protestant and that includes everyone who is not Catholic. There is a move afoot to do a better way of counting and classifying a person’s religious affiliation, including Jews, Moslems and different Protestant denominations.)

Perhaps I am just too worried about other people and their attitudes. I must admit, though, I was surprised at the attitude of people I had thought to be Christians. I think, however, the attitude is pretty much the same everywhere. That still does not make pirating software the right thing to do.

Well, another noisy day in the Bakakeng Norte Barangay. There seems to be lots of building construction going on lately. I should have noticed that when I moved here; there are buildings which are unfinished. But, that is nothing new all over Baguio. Much building is started and then is left unfinished. No one can really tell if the building will be completed or has been abandoned for one reason or another. Weather, of course, has a big impact on construction. And, Baguio gets more than a fair share of rain.

I need a haircut badly, but I am still having problems with the ups and downs of the blood pressure. Today it is down and I haven’t taken the med’s yet. I cannot be left on my own any more because these pressure swings come and go and I already took a tumble recently. All in all, though, I have good health – DEO GRATIAS!

Enough of me and the problems of the world. I have other things to do – like watch an old Sherlock Holmes movie or read about Cardinal Neumann.  Until next time, may you and I be blessed abundantly.

Just some general stuff

2012-09-13, Thursday
I was watching a programme on the History Channel – it is rare that there is real history programmes on that channel in Asia. This programme was about the Mayans and Aliens from outer space.  These so-called scientists are intent on proving that there are aliens from outer space that they do not consider that maybe these people were intelligent enough to do the things we now find left behind.

My blood pressure seems to be staying on the low side and I shall be able to see a doctor next month (November). And, sometime this month, I have to go to the Bureau of Immigration in Manila. That costs me about $50 for the trip, plus 12 hours in travel time.

There have been lots of rain and thunderstorms. Perhaps we are coming to the end of those storms as the earth tilts and the Northern Hemisphere moves away from the sun. When the Northern Hemisphere is close to the sun, there are many storms, like typhoons or hurricanes.  Today there is some sun, but still lots of clouds, which may mean rain later.

I did not get to see any of the Memorials about the 911 attacks because they were held during the late night and very early morning here. Since I do not sleep well, anyway, I was not going to wake myself and then not be able to sleep the rest of the nght.

General Journal, 2012-08-30

At 1:10 AM tomorrow morning, Nay and I leave for Manila Immigration, again. Then, I have to go back on the 25th of September, I think, to get the new ACR-I card. Hopefully it is for longer than one year. Then, I am free -Free at last!

I have been listening to Laudes on YouTube sung by what appears to be a religious order of men and women at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris. Of course Laudes is sung in French, so I do not understand all of it. I know when they are singing the Our Father and the Benedictus. And, I understand “The Lord be with you” and the response.

These men and women sing in a Russian-style, i.e., the modes or tonality sound like Russian or OCA modes. There are at least two icons I have seen. The main icon on the altar is Jesus the teacher, I believe.  The other icon changes daily and sits on an icon stand on the main floor.  This service is offered in one of the chapels of the Cathedral and at the entrance to the chapel, there appears to be two more icons of angels facing each other. There is not much light.

They stand during the entire service and there are some other people at the back of the chapel who also participate as part of the choir. Anyone can read the first reading, but only a priest reads the Gospel, or second reading and he also reads the prayer.  They do not stand during the entire service – I forgot that they sit on the floor during the first reading and the meditation time after the reading.  The meditation is presented by either a monk or nun playing a wind instrument (most often a flute or recorder) and sometimes the small organ. But they do sing a capella.

They are Roman Catholics.  This takes place in the Roman Catholic Cathedral and there is Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament after the service on some days. I have all the days except Monday. There seems to be no recording of that day.

General 2012-08-20, Monday, 0958

Weather – overcast with light wind; clouds break for sun periodically.

I forget to write every day. Guess I do not have much to write.

My “development” to becoming an urban monastic is coming along. I try to remember the formal prayers every day, but I am not good and meditation, personal prayers, or reading seem to suffer the most. My scripture reading is behind 7 days and I am really trying to catch up.

I have started turning off the TV more, which is good.  Most of what is on isn’t very good anyway. But, I have substituted that with YouTube. I do try to keep my watching to things relating to learning more about God, not for my glory but so I can know God more and draw closer to him. Many people who know me may be shocked when (or, if) they read this. And some of the liturgical celebrations, including the Office of the Hours are in my list.

The Orthodox Faith is what I have accepted to have the true teachings of Jesus.  However, I have to say that I am still very attracted to the contemplative orders, primarily those who follow the Benedictine Rule, of the Roman Faith.  But, I cannot accept the infallibility of the Pope or his position as the Supreme Pontiff. When I read or hear him address Roman bishops as “My Brother Bishops”, I get very upset. For, if they were his brother bishops, he would not hold to this absolute authority, but would share it with the other bishops.  The Bishop of Rome was always considered the First among Equals. He has always had that title and respect, but when he started trying to tell other bishops what to do and making absolute pronouncements, many other bishops said, “No Way!”  Especially the bishops in the East.

Popes John XXIII and Paul VI appeared to be trying to change this Absolute Authority to a shared authority the way it was in the original organisation of the Church.  But, the traditional bishops just would not support them.  The Council of Vatican II turned into “Let’s change the Liturgy”. Now the Roman Faith has a liturgy, which, while there was an attempt to take the liturgy back to an original Western style, isn’t recognised by anyone as a legitimate liturgy or resembling an ancient Western liturgy.

On another subject: I have to go to Manila to get some paper work done, however, today and tomorrow are holidays, so the Immigration office is not open.  I have postponed the trip until next Monday.  I hope this is not going to make the paper work late and cause me to have to file for an extension while all is processed.

I just learned that there is another holiday on Monday, 27th of August, and I had planned to go to Manila then. So another change and that may add a 20% surcharge to the ticket for the bus.  This is very lucky with all the holidays. There is even a day for Ramadan. Holidays seem to be mixed between religious and civilian days.

2012-07-30, Baguio, Philippines

2012-07-30, Baguio, Philippines

I cannot go out today because there is a Signal One storm around here.  Signal One in the Philippines is equivalent to a Category One Hurricane in the U.S.  Lots of rain which keeps coming and going and strong winds.  This particular storm, called Gener by Philippines, seems to be like a series of storms. Whenever there is no rain, there is wind.  Not certain the rate of speed of these winds, but the weather prognosticator mentioned that there could be gusts of up to 100 kilometers per hour – that’s about 60 miles per hour.  Right now the electricity is off; the rain has stopped and there are winds gusting. Gas is used for cooking and candles come out at the appropriate time. There is only one candle at a time unless someone absolutely has to have a candle in a different room from the one.

One can never tell when the electricity will return or how long it will stay.  In a storm like this one, sometimes there are several outages and then there may be only one long one, like the one which lasted for fourteen hours. But, the problem was not caused by a storm then. That was a human error when someone forgot and flipped a switch at the energy generating company to the local provider company. The whole city was without power, some sections for eleven hours, others for fourteen hours. Our house was one of the ones out for the fourteen.

I do not think I am going to be writing any more, so this is as far as my General Journal for last month goes.

General Talk

27 July 2012, 16:44, Baguio City, Benguet, Philippines
(I shall put this on Evernote and WordPress, when the electricity is back on and, hoprfully we have internet service, too.)

There has been no electricity throughout most of the city today. Everyone keeps saying it is a brown-out, but brown-outs usually last 2 to 3 hours only. This one has been going on since about 09:15 (more than 4 hours).  Seems to me to be more than a brown-out. Fortunately we have gas for cooking.

Gon, the family dog, has been watching the happnngs in the street below. He won’t stay on the Veranda with Joey or me, but he will with Beatriz. Oh, I wasn”t thinking, maybe you don’t know who everyone is in the household. Beatriz, called either Moma or Nay (pronounced like nigh), Joey, who was going to college, but has decided to return home at Esperanza, Clint Jhon (that is the spelling on his birth certificate), whom we call Totot or sometimes Tot, and me. Totot is in high school and is attending Baguio City National High School. He is only 15 and in his last year of high school.  I could never understand how a Filipino or Filipina could graduate at only 15 or 16 from High school. Do they begin school at the age of 3?  No. There are only six years of elementary school. They start at 5 or 6 and that means, with only ten years of school, they can graduate at 15 or 16,

Not everyone graduates at 15 or 16. In many cases a child may miss a year of school because parents cannot afford to pay the tuition or buy the uniform for one, and sometimes more than one, year. So it is possible that one may be 18 or 20 years old and graduating from high school. It is usually rare that a person is over 19 because, when a child misses more than one year in succession, the degree of difficulty to return to school is very high.  Study habits are quickly forgotten as is much of what was lerned in the preceeding years of school.  So, there are many uneducated people in the Philippines, especially in the provinces.

During the trial of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, there was a senator who was complaing about how much money was spent on the trial (the trial took 44 days and this senator was talking about the cost on the 36th day) which could have been used for education. He also alluded to several bills awaiting the senate’s attention which were for education and health care.  After 44 days, the Chief Justice, who had been charged with 22 crimes, as I understood from the TV and newspapers, was convicted of only one – failure to complete a federal form correctly. Granted, the form was a financial form and he failed to disclose his off-shore assets because, according to his testimony, he did not understand the law. Gives a person lots of confidence in the Filipino Judiciary system, when the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court does not understand the laws. The other charges related to misapplication of funds and embezzelment. According to a retired judge with whom I spoke, supposedly the prosecution had all the evidence they needed to convict him of every charge. The prosecution consisted of 10 or 12 actual prosecutors. But I never heard one of them ever ask a question of a witness. Only the 26 Senators chosen to be the jurors/jurists asked questions.  Oh well, so goes the world of Politics in the Philippines and the World.

Had a couple of discussions with my Uncle (Mom’s brother) about the Philippines, since he was stationed here during the Second World War and the Korean War. General MacArthur still had his headquarters here in Baguio from the Spanish-American War until Roosevelt forced him to leave and go to Australia. Uncle Jim was part of the crew which flew Eisenhower here to meet with MacArthur. Eisenhower was still Chief of Staff in D.C. then. His crew would have flown him from Clark Air Base, in the Philippines. And, my Uncle was in the lead plane during the fly-over, when the US gave the Philippines independence. Originally, the Independence Day was July 4. The new constitution, called the Charter, changed the day to some day in March. Whenever I have asked a Flipino/a what is the Independence Day now, no one seems to know.

Both my Uncle and I used to spell the country’s name incorrectly – with 2 “L’s”. I had a Filipino explain to me that the country was named afer King Filip of Spain, so no double “L”. Uncle Jim told me that my grandfather, his father, said that since he was in someone else’s country, he should learn the correct spelling. Why do we spell Philippines with “PH” instead of an “F” (Philco Appliances maybe)?  Maybe the same reason that Kiribati (pronouned Kiribash) used “TI” instead of “SH”. They took the “TI” from naTIon – and that is the truth!

I saw a monument a few days ago and for the longest time I never equated it with the US. The monument says, in words to this effect, Here the 133rd Infantry Division Met and Stopped Japanese forces from entering Baguio – 1943. That would have to be the 133rd Infantry Division of the US because there was no Filipino military in 1943. The Japanese were not kept out of Baguio, though. A few months later they were able to come from the North and right down the valley to Baguio.

Enough of the History lesson.

Baguio is called the San Francisco of the Philippines. Mostly because of the temperature and the mountains (not hills here). Also, Baguio is known for earthquakes. Most have been small, but in 1996 there was a big one which cut Baguio off from the rest of the world for about six months.  I am not sure to what extent buildings were damaged, but all the roads to Baguio – there are three from the South and one from the North – were impassible and there were no communications in or out.

The city is pretty and is covered with all sorts of parks. There is an environmental park, which is on the grounds of a Catholic Religious Order.  Camp John Hay has the only Golf course in the city. The Officers’ Club is still there from the US Army days. (I wonder if MacArthur played golf?) Additionally, there are two other restaurants in the Camp. The Camp is operated by the Philippine Military and only active duty members, retired military (from either the US or Phillipine Military), and cadets from the Military Academy are permitted on the facility. We, Beatriz, Gabriel, and I, drove on to the Camp once and were quickly told to turn around and leave! We got there accidentally when we were trying to get from Kennon Road to Loakan Road. The connector road was open only as far as Camp John Hay.

There had been several days of rain like now. The road had a clay base and the rain went right through the asphalt and made the clay wet and slippery and the roadway just disappeared. The Bureau of Roads and Highways got the road open as far as the Camp. What we were able to see was very nice.

That’s enough of the travelogue. I can write more in my next offering.