When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

"If you ever start feeling like you have the goofiest, craziest, most dysfunctional family in the world, all you have to do is go to a state fair. Because five minutes at the fair, you'll be going, 'you know, we're alright. We are dang near royalty.'" - Jeff Foxworthy


Who Is a Jew? Court Ruling in Britain Raises Question - "In an explosive decision, the court concluded that basing school admissions on a classic test of Judaism — whether one’s mother is Jewish — was by definition discriminatory. Whether the rationale was “benign or malignant, theological or supremacist,” the court wrote, “makes it no less and no more unlawful.” The case rested on whether the school’s test of Jewishness was based on religion, which would be legal, or on race or ethnicity, which would not"

Russian cannibal who ate his mother given lighter sentence by judge who says 'he was starving, he needed to eat'

Hitler was ‘German football coach’ - "One in 20 schoolchildren think the Fuhrer was a sportsman, while one in six youngsters said they thought Auschwitz was a Second World War theme park... One in 20, meanwhile, said the Holocaust was a celebration at the end of the war."

Hi, I'm Marty, and I'm a recovering Republican - "Very few people in their late teens and early twenties seek justice in moderation. The hormone-soaked college years are a time of extremes, our changing identities often defined by dissent-quashing affiliations, leaving us to later cringe at our frenzied "Goldfish Liberation phase," "Castrate the Phallusocracy phase," "Noam Chomsky phase" or "Ayn Rand phase."... I should have seen the danger of sealing myself in an echo chamber to prevent contamination from outside viewpoints... Outrage became my drug of choice... One Salon reader even threatened my physical safety. But middle-aged liberal psychologist Steve Edgell took another approach: calmly and gently talking me back to earth... It doesn't matter whether you are liberal or conservative, but it's dangerous to always think with exclamation points instead of question marks. Your stance on any particular issue is far less important than whether your worldview is a product of inquiry or incuriosity, whether you feel more comfortable questioning the crowd or blindly marching with it. No ideology has a monopoly on reality -- including my rediscovered left-wing politics."
Again, this shows that the moment you become too extreme about anything, you go cuckoo. And that to truly convince people, you don't shout at them - you talk to them. Interestingly, there're twice the hits for "recovering Democrat" on Google as for "recovering Republican"

Lu Xun on the difficulties of Chinese characters - "He made bitterly honest comments on virtually all aspects of Chinese institutions, culture, and customs. Among the subjects that attracted Lu Xun's attention was the Chinese script. So deep were his feelings about the Chinese writing system that he was reported to have proclaimed shortly before his death, "Hanzi bu mie, Zhongguo bi wang" (If Chinese characters do not fade away, China will perish!) [Ed: “汉字不灭,中国必亡” - 鲁迅]. While this is admittedly a radical formulation of the problem posed by China's archaic script in the context of efforts to modernize the nation, Lu Xun was by no means the first Chinese scholar to blame the writing system for his nation's backwardness. Indeed, Lu Xun had been preceded by dozens of individuals from the late-Qing period onward who had devised simple and more efficient writing systems, including alphabets, for the various Chinese languages. And, as early as the Song dynasty, the renowned and erudite polymath Zheng Qiao (1104–1162) had noted some of the deficiencies of the Chinese script.
This would've come in very useful during Mandarin class: "如果要写字,就非永远画画不成"

Why Hollywood marriages don’t last - "Few occupations and professions afford men with greater opportunities to come in contact with women in their teenage years than teachers in secondary and postsecondary schools. These teachers experience the cumulative effect of exposure, day after day, year after year, to young, attractive women who are at the peak of their reproductive value and fertility more acutely than men in most other occupations... Our analysis of the General Social Survey data showed that male secondary and postsecondary school teachers were significantly more likely to be currently divorced and significantly less likely to remarry than men in other occupations. This effect is not observable among male kindergarten and elementary school teachers. Nor are female teachers in secondary and postsecondary schools more likely to be currently divorced or less likely to remarry. So it's not about being a teacher per se."

6 Reasons Bacon is Better Than True Love - "True love only happens once in a lifetime. Bacon can happen seven times a day, if you want it to"

How To Write Badly Well - "She manipulated the garment in a cogitative mode.
‘Hmm,’ she vocalised. ‘This attire is verifiably marvellous. What is it constituted from?’
‘From the most meritorious velveteen,’ defined her interlocutor, simpering coincidentally.
‘Is it?’ iterated the party of the first part. ‘That’s felicitous.’"

Help me to get Sony Vaio VGN-Z51MRG/B - "You have to:
* Register at http://vk.com/reg15831920. That is a largest social network in Russia....
What you get:
* A huge amount of mp3 for free
* Lot of video like youtube
* Lot of friends from Russia (remember, Russian girls are the most beautiful)...
What I get:
* Lot of new friends
* Hope to have Sony Vaio VGN-Z51MRG/B"

Curvy women may be a clever bet - "Researchers studied 16,000 women and girls and found the more voluptuous performed better on cognitive tests - as did their children."
How does this apply in Singapore?

Orgy puts stop to degree courses in sex - "Social science faculty heads took action after student Jessica McMahon said that at the end of the trip to the gay strip club the class instructor stripped on stage and started to engage in sexual activity with one of the club's male performers."

Framed for child porn — by a PC virus - "Their situations are complicated by the fact that actual pedophiles often blame viruses — a defense rightfully viewed with skepticism by law enforcement... Fiola was fired and charged with possession of child pornography, which carries up to five years in prison. He endured death threats, his car tires were slashed and he was shunned by friends... "It ruined my life, my wife's life and my family's life"... However, forensic examiners say it would be hard for a pedophile to get away with his crime by using a bogus virus defense... Even careful child porn collectors tend to leave incriminating e-mails, DVDs or other clues. Virus defenses are no match for such evidence"

Bathing doggies are cute hehe.

When Bad People Are Punished, Men Smile (but Women Don't) - "Women are generally more empathetic than men, and that men take great pleasure in seeing revenge exacted... far from condemning the male impulse for retribution, Dr. Singer said it had an important social function: "This type of behavior has probably been crucial in the evolution of society as the majority of people in a group are motivated to punish those who cheat on the rest."... "This investigation would seem to indicate there is a predominant role for men in maintaining justice and issuing punishment.""
I wonder what the result will be if it's people who have personally hurt the women.

The decade of Steve - "Key to the Jobs approach is careful consideration of what he and Apple say -- and don't say. Harvard professor David Yoffie estimated that in the months between announcing and selling the first iPhone in 2007, Apple received $400 million in free advertising by not making any public statements, thereby whipping the media into a frenzy... The secrecy has rankled corporate governance experts, who insist the health of such an indispensable CEO warrants greater disclosure... Steve Jobs is mortal. When he's gone, how long will his company thrive without him?"

Pigs don't fly: Air Zimbabwe plane crashes into bushpig on runway - "The airport emergency rescue service took five minutes to reach the plane. They were beaten by a contingent of secret police, whose first act was to arrest two passengers for taking photographs. There was no medical care and it took an hour for an Air Zimbabwe manager to have water distributed. He tried to reassure them by saying that the airline’s chief executive was on his way to the airport. “The passengers retorted that they did not eat CEOs”"
"In science, 'fact' can only mean 'confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.' I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms." - Stephen Jay Gould


On Chinese myths:

"The Great Wall, the Grand Canal, the Long March, even the Giant Panda? Myths, declare the revisionist scholars...

Contrary to the tourist brochures, the Great Wall has been shown to be not 'over 2,000 years old', not '6,000 miles [9,700 kilometres] long', not 'visible from outer space' - not visible on the ground in many places - and never to have been a single continuous structure.' It did not keep out marauding nomads nor was that its original purpose; instead of defending and defining Chinese territory, it was probably designed to augment and project it.' Those sections near Beijing that may conveniently be inspected today have been substantially reconstructed for just such inspection; and the rubble and footings from which they rise are those of Ming fortifications no older than the palaces in the Forbidden City or London's Hampton Court.

Likewise the Grand Canal. Reaching from the Yangzi delta to the Yellow River (Huang He), a distance of about 1,100 kilometres (700 miles), the canal is supposed to have served as a main artery between China's productive heartland and its brain of government. Laid out in the seventh century AD, it did indeed connect the rice-surplus south to the often cereal-deficient north. Yet it, too, was never a single continuous construction, more a series of well-engineered waterways. ... The system was rarely operational throughout its entirety because of variable water flow, the rainy season in the north not coinciding with that in the south; colossal manpower was needed to haul the heavily laden transports and work the locks; dredging and maintenance proved prohibitively expensive; and so frequent were the necessary realignments of the system that there are now almost as many abandoned sections of Grand Canal as there are of Great Wall.

More controversially, the Long March, that 1934-35 epic of heroic communist endeavour, has been disparaged as neither as long nor as heroic as supposed. It is said the battles and skirmishes en route were exaggerated, if not contrived, for propaganda purposes; and of the 80,000 troops who began the march in Jiangxi in the south-east, only 8,000 actually foot-slogged their way right round China's mountainous perimeter to Yan'an in the north-west. As for the rest, some perished but most simply dropped out long before the 9,700-kilometre (6,000-mile) march was completed. And of those who did complete it, one at least seldom marched; Mao, we are assured, was borne along on a litter.

Maybe the Giant Panda, a byword for endangered icons if ever there was one, is on safer ground... lest anyone harbour designs on such a national paragon, no longer may Giant Pandas be expatriated. All are Chinese pandas. Foreign zoos may only lease them, the lease being for ten years, the rental fee around $2 million per annum, and any cubs born during the rental being deemed to inherit the nationality of their mother - and the same terms of contract. Like its piebald image as featured in countless brand logos, the Giant Panda has itself become a franchise."

--- China / John Keay

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Elections are won by men and women chiefly because most people vote against somebody rather than for somebody." - Franklin P. Adams


Ma première histoire d'amour
(après la correction)

Ma première histoire d'amour? Je me souviens...

J'avais 15 ans, et elle avait 62 ans.

Nous nous sommes rencontrés dans les toilettes de l'école.

Je venais d'entrer, quand elle m'a parlé: 'Gabriel, embrasse-moi!'

Je l'ai regardé: elle avait des gros lolos, et des cheveux rouges et beaux.

Nous nous sommes promenés dans jardin de l'école. Les beaux oiseaux chantaient.

Après, nous sommes allés chez elle, et j'ai rencontré ses petites-filles.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"The main things which seem to me important on their own account, and not merely as means to other things, are knowledge, art, instinctive happiness, and relations of friendship or affection." - Bertrand Russell


www.peopleofwalmart.com - "Let’s face it; we all have seen the people who obviously don’t have mirrors and/or family and friends to lock them in a basement, and they all seem to congregate at Walmart. It’s not everywhere that you can shop for milk at 10 a.m. next to a 400lb mother of 6 wearing a pink tube top, leopard tights, and hooker heels. Where else can one go to pick up underwear at 3 O’clock in the afternoon and spot the greatest mullet of all time paired with a mustard stained wife beater (which only accents the extreme amount of body hair) and camo pants that were actually used in Vietnam. And if you haven’t run into the 6’2” bull-dyke with a shaved head, rockin a wonder bra, flannel cutoff shirt, and jean shorts at 2 a.m. when you’re there to pick up frozen pizza, chips, and cookies, then you can get the fuck out right now."

History and the battle for hearts and minds - "At a New York dinner party in 1945, the young journalist Marietta Fitzgerald was tickled to find herself seated beside a celebrated Englishman... She had a big article to write about Britain and decided to pick his brains. Could he explain the genealogy that had brought George I and the Hanoverian dynasty to the throne?... There was painful silence. 'I think my mother would know that, too,' at length replied the Duke of Windsor who, not a decade before, had reigned over Britain and her Empire as King Edward VIII... History is dangerous stuff. For one, it requires extraordinary discipline to study the events of the past without allowing your own attitudes to cloud your judgment. In one historian's neat aphorism, present perceptions of past people are not at all the same as past people's perceptions of their present. For another, history can be, and routinely is, analysed and written through a conscious, ideological filter. 'Marxist' history, for instance, focused on class struggle and the lot of ordinary people... [there is a] belief, in every age, that one's own generation is the most important and wise and most enlightened ever. So we happily demolish the nonsense of past historians, only to impose some nonsense of our own. And there is the great difficulty of attaining perspective on events in the near past. When asked what he felt had been the abiding consequences of the French Revolution, the late Chou En-lai - henchman of Mao - replied shrewdly: 'It is too early to tell.'"

Researchers to perform sex change operation on papaya

How to Seduce Difficult Women - "“I ran into a former client who I remembered was a really difficult woman. And I said I was going to do a film about her. She said, ‘And what would that be?’ I said, ‘How to seduce difficult women.’ And she said, ‘Me? I’m not difficult.’ I said, ‘So, what are you, easy?’ and she said, ‘Oh no.’ And I thought, now this is interesting. Here’s a woman who does not want to be labeled difficult…and doesn’t want to be labeled easy. So I said there’s something there. What is the definition of that woman? And I realized that the word that women are really happy to adopt is complex.”"

Singapore Aspirations: On medical leave and the employee - "The approach typically taken in Western countries, with regard to an employee taking medical leave, displays compassion and understanding... There is no need for the employee to produce a medical certificate issued by a doctor... The attitude adopted by the majority of companies in Singapore is markedly different. The employee is required to go to a doctor to obtain a medical certificate... What Singapore employers may have failed to realise, is that there is actually a cost-saving benefit if an employer allows its employees to call in sick without obtaining medical certification, i.e., medical expenses will not be incurred"
One comment: "Its the culture of Singapore, we do not trust one another in general. It is the same reason why US allows return for goods purchased for cash refund, no questions asked, and we do not."

Fugly Bali - Why you might want to avoid this Indonesian Island! - ""Bali the island paradise" is mostly a contradiction in terms, with one of the world's most corrupt governments, police forces and business community... This site is dedicated to making people aware of the problem, the often disgusting facts about Bali which are seldom made public"
Funny, I thought it was the whole archipelago.

Are date rape spiked drinks an urban myth? - "Could it be that women instinctively feel that if they admit to themselves how much they had drunk they would also be admitting they were somehow to blame for putting themselves at risk? Believing your drink was spiked transfers the blame to a malevolent, external force, something which women have no control over. It shifts responsibility. Alcohol expert Robin Touquet, Professor of Emergency Medicine at Imperial College, London, points out: 'Women are demonising so- called drink spiking rather than facing up to the fact that drinking too much alcohol can put them in a highly dangerous situation... Graham Rhodes, who set up The Roofie Foundation... [claims that] there were 627 victims of drug rape and sexual abuse reported during 2007... Mr Rhodes decides who among callers to his Foundation is a victim of drug rape... this unorthodox method of compiling data ignores the fact that most people underestimate the amount of alcohol they consume on a night out. Not surprisingly, any discussion of the relationship between fear of drink spiking and alcohol consumption in women is controversial. Claims that alcohol - not spiked drinks - is women's true enemy are seen as politically incorrect by those who say they foster an attitude that women who are sexually assaulted are somehow 'asking for it'."

Guy dances like Michael Jackson everytime he waits for a bus

Sweeping the Clouds Away - "Volumes 1 and 2, “Sesame Street: Old School” is adults-only... What they did to us was hard-core. Man, was that scene rough. The masonry on the dingy brownstone at 123 Sesame Street, where the closeted Ernie and Bert shared a dismal basement apartment, was deteriorating. Cookie Monster was on a fast track to diabetes. Oscar’s depression was untreated. Prozacky Elmo didn’t exist... a pretty, lonely girl like Sally might find herself befriended by an older male stranger who held her hand and took her home. Granted, Gordon just wanted Sally to meet his wife and have some milk and cookies, but . . . well, he could have wanted anything. As it was, he fed her milk and cookies. The milk looks dangerously whole... none of the characters, in fact, is especially sunshiney except maybe Ernie, who also seems slow.) “We might not be able to create a character like Oscar now”... People on “Sesame Street” had limited possibilities and fixed identities, and (the best part) you weren’t expected to change much"

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Vacuity of 'Hope', one year on:

One year of The One

"“Saturday Night Live”, a comedy show, reckons his two big accomplishments are “jack” and “squat”. “Yes he can” proclaims the cover of Newsweek, “(but he sure hasn’t yet)”...

Mr Obama did little to dispel the idea that he could work miracles.

In his inauguration speech, he declared: “We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.” Yet roughly once a week since that day, he has ordered the assassination of suspected terrorists. These assassinations, carried out with Hellfire missiles fired from hovering drones, are often messy. According to the New America Foundation, a think-tank, it took 15 attempts to kill Baitullah Mehsud, a Taliban leader in Pakistan who was finally blown to scraps in August. Hundreds of people, some of them children, have died in these drone attacks. Mr Obama would presumably include “not killing children” among his ideals. Sometimes, however, he sets aside this ideal in the interests of safety.

That may or may not be the right thing to do. But it is absurd to pretend that there is no trade-off “between our safety and our ideals”. Were that so, Mr Obama would already have closed the prison at Guantánamo Bay; yet nearly all the prisoners he inherited are still there. Meanwhile, he says he will continue “rendering” freshly captured terror suspects to third countries. And American soldiers are still being discharged for being openly gay. Is this “change we can believe in” or merely Bush with panache?...

A recent attempt to exclude Fox News, a conservative network, from a pooled interview with the White House pay tsar was so crude that even liberal networks objected."

My NEW favourite part of the Penal Code

"All human situations have their inconveniences. We feel those of the present but neither see nor feel those of the future; and hence we often make troublesome changes without amendment, and frequently for the worse." - Benjamin Franklin



My favourite part of the Penal Code used to be Section 509, Word or gesture intended to insult the modesty of a woman (the section that can send you to jail for 2 weeks for sending 2 SMSes).

However, this is now my second favourite section, as it has been eclipsed by Section 508, Act caused by inducing a person to believe that he will be rendered an object of divine displeasure.

"Whoever voluntarily causes or attempts to cause any person to do anything which that person is not legally bound to do, or to omit to do anything which he is legally entitled to do, by inducing or attempting to induce that person to believe that he, or any person in whom he is interested, will become or will be rendered by some act of the offender an object of divine displeasure if he does not do the thing which it is the object of the offender to cause him to do, or if he does the thing which it is the object of the offender to cause him to omit, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

(a) A performs a ceremony at Z's door with the intention of causing it to be believed that by so doing he renders Z an object of divine displeasure, unless Z does something he is not legally bound to do. A has committed the offence defined in this section.

(b) A threatens Z that unless Z performs a certain act, A will kill one of A's own children, under such circumstances that the killing would be believed to render Z an object of divine displeasure. A has committed the offence defined in this section."

Under a broad interpretation of this law, then, evangelism (with the threat of hellfire and damnation) would be a criminal offence in Singapore.

After all, divine displeasure in the afterlife is still divine displeasure.

On a broader level, would threatening Singapore with disaster for having abortion "as the contraceptive of choice" also qualify?

Sunday, November 08, 2009

"You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can't possibly live long enough to make them all yourself." - Sam Levenson


When I was watching this, what struck me was that although this is the most popular patriotic English song, you see flags from all sorts of entities being waved, and nobody cares - they are all joined in song and celebration.

Whereas in less civilised countries people get upset about other flags being waved. Not to mention laws against such.

Flags identified:

- Union Jack (UK)
- St George's Cross (England)
- Germany
- New Zealand
- Australia
- Flanders (unofficial)
- Vatican City
- Netherlands
- 日章旗 (Japan) (bizarrely, this was perched on top of a German one - maybe it was an Axis Powers thing)
- United Nations
- Le drapeau tricolore (France, in the form of a twirling umbrella)
- The Saltire (Scotland)
- (Poland - must be a plumber)
- 五星红旗 (China; there was a British flag on top so maybe it's a Honkie)
- Il Tricolore (Italy)
- Switzerland

There're also people waving flags that don't seem to belong to polities:

- Brown with yellow Arabic (?)
- Vertical green and red bars
- Yellow with a pattern of red crosses

I think if someone tried to wave another flag during "This is home, truly", he'd get lynched.
"Partir, c'est mourir un peu, mais mourir, c'est partir beaucoup." - Alphonse Allais

I was trying to figure out if this is a joke. Then someone pointed out the significance of "God's Hand":


"想再大一点是每个女人的梦想!... 自动调杯内衣让你梦想成真!"

"还能再大一点吗?" "做女人就是要有大梦想"
"It is our responsibilities, not ourselves, that we should take seriously." - Peter Ustinov


An interview with PPBI's idol, Celina Lin:

"Q: If you had to liken money to an animal, which would it be and why?

A: A cobra - beautiful, alluring, powerful, but a venomous creature if you mishandle it - pretty much like a woman...

Q: Women are their own worst enemy. Agree?

A: Women can be like characters from a Greek tragedy - their intelligence, strength and cunning can be the source of their undoing. Women can also be overly sensitive, unfairly judgmental and highly critical towards their own kind.

I say this not to break ranks with sisterhood but to create an awareness within us.

For years, I worked seamlessly among testosterone. When I retired, I found myself at tea parties, floundering in seas of sensitive oestrogen with my straight-talking ways, treading on egg-shells and dodging darts till I learnt how to curb my views and socially polite platitudes like everyone else.

A woman must never be seen as direct or outspoken in the midst of other women. She must blend in. But men are excused if they speak their mind.

But no, women are not their own worst enemies. They are men's ultimate mother of all enemies if ever scorned."
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