Monday, 28 July 2008

Clovisses or Punau as We Know Them Here

These are clovisses, or Tapes decussatus. In French T. decussatus is "clovisse" and T. decussatus form fusca "palourde", or Manila Clam, Japonaise, Alemeja. The local name in Siargao is punau.

They're delicious, so here's a simple, and very good recipe, thanks to Sophie:

24 clovisses or palourdes
(steam for a moment or so to open them)
125 g butter
25 g shallot
5 g garlic
10 g parsley
10 g almond powder
Method (from
This recipe is rather easy to do! Put the full halves of the palourdes on a dish. Mince parsley, garlic and shallot separately. Put Shallots with a little part of the butter in a small pan, and heat gently until the shallots are transparent. Add parsley, garlic and all the butter. Heat till the butter is foamy. Then add it on each palourde and dust them with the almond powder. Put the dish in a hot oven for 5 minutes, not more and eat immediately !

These shellfish normally grow in lagoons, or other very quiet waters. They are lazy, and don't like to be disturbed by currents and weather

The recipe give by Sophie is not very sophisticated, (it is after all, French) but you could do a lot more with these shellfish, See other posts about how shellfish can be made into divine meat.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Guyam Island From Mabua Creek

This is the view (or used to be) from just down the bridge across Mabua creek, as you go into General Luna town itself from Cloud Nine, to the north-east.

Or, at least, it was. The two large coconut trees have now disappeared, due to changing shoreline patterns brought about by changing tide and creek patterns

The tide currents go in different directions here; one coming in, and the other going out. I don't know why this should be so, but it is.

Mabua village, to the left of this photo, is also called Barangay Alingit - 'Angry Village' because the family arguments can be heard all over town.

I used to be scared stiff of it, because they are 'a bunch of squatters and thieves' but now I know some of the families there, and they're a good bunch (well, some of them are).

Friday, 25 July 2008

Heading out to Ma'arib

I set out to Google Earth over Yemen, from Sana'a north to Ma'rib, the city of the Queen of Sheba.

And what did I find? This crap :
This is a small village that has some water underneath it.
Some asshole has come in and sold them rotary irrigators.
The guy who has the land at the top right seems to be doing ok for now.
The first suckers, with the dead land at the bottom left hand side, are as usual, f***ed.
You can dump a lot of water on a desert, and you'll see a miraculous flowering. But that's it. If there's nothing but sand for nourishment, don't hope too much.

Strange Fig Tree

Strange fig tree PhilippinesThis is a strange fig tree that grows in my garden. The fruit grow directly on the trunk of the tree, in bunches, quite unlike other figs, and the fruit come along every three or four months.

Sometimes birds do try and eat them, but there is not enough surface for them to perch and peck. So I left the coconut frond that fell down to give them some purchase. On a closer look, I found that the yellow figs are unripe. They go dark red as they ripen, and the birds certainly go for those.

I'm interested to see if this fig has a life style dependent on insects, as so many figs do.

Tomorrow (or maybe the next day, life being a little bit lazy) I'll get one of the figs and dissect it.

If there is a story at all, I'll post it here.

Strange Fig Philippines
[Day 2 Well, it's now tomorrow, and here is a picture of the fruit. The yellow one is unripe, and the red one was very ripe and sticky. I couldn't see any insects in either (some figs have friendly relations with tiny wasps).

Anyway, I ate it, and I'm not dead yet.

By the way, the two wires crossing the photo above are my electricity supply; great bit of junction wiring to the left.

[Day 3] I've now realised that the rest of the world gets up in the morning a lot earlier than I do, so this morning I got up and watched that bloody fig tree.

They're all there, from the sunbirds, to that-bright-yellow-bird-I-don't-the name-of, to the imported European sparrows (who chat with a Spanish, not a Cockney accent).

Wonderful sight, even through the haze of a normal morning hangover.

DH Lawrence wrote this about figs:

The proper way to eat a fig, in society,
Is to split it in four, holding it by the stump,
And open it, so that it is a glittering, rosy, moist,
honied, heavy-petalled four-petalled flower.
Then you throw away the skin
Which is just like a four-sepalled calyx,
After you have taken off the blossom with your lips.
But the vulgar way
Is just to put your mouth to the crack, and take out the flesh in one bite.
Every fruit has its secret.
The fig is a very secretive fruit

As you see it standing growing, you feel at once it is symbolic:
And it seems male.
But when you come to know it better, you agree with the Romans, it is female.
The Italians vulgarly say, it stands for the female part; the fig-fruit:
The fissure, the yoni,
The wonderful moist conductivity towards the centre.
The flowering all inward and womb-fibrilled;
And but one orifice.
The fig, the horse-shoe, the squash-blossom.
There was a flower that flowered inward, womb-ward;
Now there is a fruit like a ripe womb.
It was always a secret.
That's how it should be, the female should always be secret.
There never was any standing aloft and unfolded on a bough
Like other flowers, in a revelation of petals;
Silver-pink peach, venetian green glass of medlars and sorb-apples,
Shallow wine-cups on short, bulging stems
Openly pledging heaven:
Here's to the thorn in flower! Here is to Utterance!
The brave, adventurous rosaceæ

I'm sorry, I can't go on with this. It's the plea of a Northern Englishman to a fruit he probably only tasted once in his life. It's nice stuff, but isn't he over-doing it a bit?
Rest of it at

Sam City

This is Sam City - Sana'a, Yemen, from the air. Sana'a must be one of the oldest continually-inhabited cities on earth, and one of the very few that still looks old and timeless.
It was reputedly founded by Shem, the son of Noah (hence Sam City).
Click on the pic for a better view.

When I first went there, in 1986, to try and sell them some airport kitchen equipment, I stayed at the Indian-run Taj hotel (roughly where the red arrow points) on Sana'a's High Street (the buildings to the left of it are palatial Government establishments of some sort).

Across the road, you could walk casually from the 20th to the 15th century.

You can see the old city on this aerial photo; roughly, all the big round bit in the middle. But, from this aerial photo, you can also make out the very, very ancient core of the city (Blob 1).

Nobody's ever been allowed to dig there, but, if they could, what they might find could put Catalhuyuk or Ebla to shame.

The streets of Sana'a are very, very private; a bit like the streets of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, or of many Spanish towns; tall multi-storey buildings fronting directly on the road, and hiding wonders behind.I never found the mosque in a pool (just south of Blob 1) or the ancient fortress (Blob 2) or the large gardens at ten o'clock from Blob 1.

My own photos of Sana'a have long rotted in my son's attic, so I'll have to refer you to Google Images:
This is a city still going through more history than we can imagine.
Look at:

Tomorrow, I'm going to do a bit of wandering on Google Earth -out to Ma'arib on the edge of the desert, where the Queen o' Sheba put that goddam' big dam. (And where the charming Italian lady I was discussing this stuff with, in the Taj bar, was kidnapped the next day).

STOP PRESS!! Grand-Daughter Arrives!!!

Yes, I know that all new-born babies look alike, and that all parents (even going back to the immediate ancestors thereof) go positively ga-ga when they arrive.

So just let me indulge myself, and congratulate my son, Ollie, and Becca (who did all the heavy lifting) for producing the gorgeous Molly.

And yes, I thought Molly was a strange name, but long after O&B chose it, they found it was my paternal grandmother's name. She died before I was born, but that's a wonderful omen.

Not that I believe in omens, of course (as I cross my fingers behind my back), and ignore Shedney, who is looking at this photo and also going goo-goo just behind me, and saying she wants one of these for herself.

STOP PRESS! Grand-daughter Arrives!

Yes, I know that all new-born babies look alike, and that all parents (even going back to the immediate ancestors thereof) go positively ga-ga when they arrive.
So just let me indulge myself, and congratulate my son, Ollie, and Becca (who did all the heavy lifting) for producing the gorgeous Molly.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Don't Go Down to the Swamps Today...

...because the Nipa Palm flower may get you.

The nipa flower's the nearest thing to a space monster that I've ever seen. They look as if they're about to come bursting and bubbling out like distinctly unfriendly extra-terrestrials. Just like Day of the Triffids. And they're big.

The flower usually grows more than a metre high, and in the fetid darkness of the brackish swamps that nipa palms inhabit, they stand out like, well, aliens.

Later, a seed head will grow, with about 40 large seeds, each enclosed in a strong husk, the whole about the size of a basketball. The seeds themselves are often called 'vegetable ivory' and are reputed to be carved by native tribesmen somewhere or other.

I tried carving them myself, but they didn't live up to their advance billing.

The nipa palm (Nypa frutescens) itself is quite innocuous, as are the flowers, of course.

The leaves are used as roofing material , widely available as roughly 4ft x 15" 'tiles', at about 8ç each. They don't last a lifetime, but they are waterproof, and a lot cooler than the corrugated iron sheets that are nowadays replacing them.

They don't need to be 'farmed' as such, but nipa stands do have owners, so be careful to ask if you want a nipa seed head as a souvenir.

The flowers, when they have grown seed heads, are tapped, like coconut flowers, for their sweet sap, which is then distilled to make pa-oroi, a strong-tasting liquor which, thankfully, is very cheap. (It's the local hooch that I mention in my blog title; I usually buy it by the 5-gallon jerry can).

I keep my hooch in a plastic water dispenser with a tap. It is half-filled with coconut-shell charcoal, that filters out the fairly awful natural taste of the pa-oroi.

My original intention was to make fruit-flavoured liquors of the stuff, by macerating some of the local fruits in it, but each time I tried that, I took to tasting it frequently, and none of my efforts ever matured, as they should have done, for more than a month.


PS 1 I just found I did this same story about a year ago at: Shows how forgetful pa-oroi makes you.

PS 2 A wonderful photo-essay on the making of pa oroi, or laksoy, as the Butuanons call it (about 3 hours drive from Surigao City is at EatingAsia:

Tuesday, 22 July 2008


Sailfin Snapper - Symphoricthys spilurus Siargao Island PhilippinesKatambak (the local name for sea bream) are various different kinds of Snappers.

This one (Sailfin Snapper - Symphoricthys spilurus) is not typical at all.

It has those long 'tails' from its dorsal fin and its anal fin.

Otherwise, it's quite tasty.

The fish already has a very nice camouflage pattern along its sides, like a not-very-good artist trying to paint waves, but it's got those long, functionally useless streamers from its fins.

When I look at an animal like this, I wonder why it did it. Why grow long tails from its fins? Sexual advertisement, or what ?

Perhaps it's a very good example of 'costly signalling', ie, that it can afford an extra bit of showing-off to attract a mate (think peacocks' tails).

Monday, 21 July 2008

Jungle Terror Orchid

Jungle terror orchid This is part of an orchid that grows on the second coconut tree down in my garden. It's the sexy bit, the bit that makes insects (mostly bees) come in to pick up pollen.

I've not seen such a greedy image in nature before. It has little beady eyes, and a gaping mouth, and even little hands at each side. And it's got a big wide-open bag to hold all the victims it finds, for future consumption.

It even appears to have arms and hands, to drag its victims into its ever-open pouch.

But don't those insects ever watch movies?

The creature at the heart of this flower is a copy (or perhaps the inspiration?) for the creature that burst into the world in Alien.

H.R.Giger's wonderful inspirations for the original film were great, but the first Alien was aggressive.:Sigourney Weaver Alien 2

The second film, though, showed a more seductive Alien, and Sigourney Weaver fell for it.

Francoise On The Beach - Pablo Picasso

Francoise Gilot Picasso SketchPablo Picasso was often in love but perhaps his greatest love was Francoise Gilot (companion between 1944 and 1953). Or, at least from his pictures it would seem so. She was not, in fact the most beautiful girl in the world (very Greek, with a long nose, and certain things going around the corners of her mouth that would produce hard wrinkles later).

But, in this tender series of drawings, Picasso created her essence in a very, very few simple lines. He did these sketches (or etched them, which is about the same thing), in the first few years that he knew her, and I once had one of the prints from a limited edition.
Picasso Francoise Gilot sketch
That is, he didn't capture her essence, but his idea of it. She was, undoubtedly, a lovely lady.

Here is a sketched etching of her (I've been vandal enough to put a Technicolor background to it.)

Picasso's artistic shorthand was amazing; here are a very few simple short lines, giving the very essence of the woman he loved.

"The sketch is like a tree; a trunk growing up from the narrow neck to fruit in abundance".

(No it isn't; he drew the face first, and the neck afterward; but why not give a bit of desconstructionable bullshit).

And just look at those simple, simple lines; total and absolute confidence in exactly where they will go, and exactly what they will shape.

Picasso really was a faux naïf genius, and I'll go on to say a bit more about him in later posts.

Francoise went on, from Picasso, to marry Dr. Jonas Salk, the co-inventor of the polio vaccine. For one woman to marry two geniuses (genii?) in a lifetime is a more than considerable achievement.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Plants, Fruit and Trees of Siargao - 249 photos

I am so impressed by the identification of my talikubo that I've put an album of photographs on the net here at Flickr or here at my webhost.

I've only just joined Flickr today, so I'm not entirely sure how it works. Hope I've got it right. That shows only 200 photos, until I dig in my pocket and update.

The second is to my website host, with all 249 photos, so, if you don't mind, since it has no comments section yet, please e-mail me here, but please head your message Plant Identification, so I don't dump you in the spam box with the Nigerian, Lottery, and Viagra scammers.

I would dearly love to have some help with identifications.

Somebody Reads This Blog! Talikubo Update

Isn't the internet wonderful!

Within hours of posting my question on Talikubo, I had an answer from a gentleman from Texas, Brandon McHenry

The plant you have on your blog for which you are looking for an identity is Dischidia cleistantha.

[It certainly is - here's the flower]

Dischidia is a family of epiphytes from SE Asia and Australasia. It is closely related to Hoya although it is vegetatively a much smaller plant and the flowers are usually not showy. Almost all of the species have close relationship with ants and many have evolved interesting vegetative aspects to attract ants. They are some with pouch leaves where ants can build nests within, another type have disk shaped leaves pressing against the trunk which again act as ant shelter. Two other types of Dischidia are not designed to attract ants (although they usually are found around the aerial ant nests), having either flat thick leaves (as in D. hirsuta) or bearing small knob-like leaves along very long internodes (eg D. bengalensis). Researchers have traced the movement of radioactive carbon and nitrogen atoms from ants to plants, confirming that the plants assimilate matters brought in by the ants.

See this for photos of other Dischidia species.

I'll be peering round my Dischidia later this morning with a magnifying glass, looking for ants. I had no idea that these plants share their place in life (forgotten the technical term) with ants. That is, if it stops raining.

I also have at least one other Dischidia species in my garden, and other plants that may be related.

Dischidia plant?Number 1. I think I'll give myself the first chance of identifying this one. No flowers yet, but it has established itself well on the coconut tree I draped it over, a month or so ago.

Number 2.

This is also very weird. We found it in the jungle, wrapped tightly round a rotten piece of bamboo (see lower part of right hand photo).

The leaves have 'sucker pads' at each leaf base.

For a long time, it languished, but has recently grown some new leaves. It has now run out of bamboo, so perhaps it wonders where it's going to go next. Perhaps when it's finished wondering, it might put out some flowers, in gratitude for having a new home, and even some very casual care.

I'm afraid that Brandon McHenry is going to get deluged with Identify This! requests from me.

I'll be blogging some more about weird Philippine plants from time to time.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Newer Posts

I´m on a roll now. I've just found out how to post stories into the future, so I've got half a dozen stories ready to roll out over the next week or so.

I'll be doing this often; it's cheating the system, I know, but when I've got the blogging mood in my brain, I may as well take the best advantage of it.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Talikubo - Can Anyone Tell me What This Is?

one of the weirdest plants I've ever come across. It grows on tree-trunks here in the Philippines, as a creeping vine This is one of the weirdest plants I've ever come across. It grows on tree-trunks here in the Philippines, and I only know its name (talikubo) in the local language, Surigaonon.

The leaf colours can vary from the pink-blushed green you see on the left (perhaps due to being in full sun?) to bright apple-green.

At first I thought it was a kind of fern, but then I see that it apparently has tiny flowers, that come out from underneath (?) the leaves . That's unusual for any flowering plant; most come out from the next node above the leaf.

I've only seen these flowers as they are shown here, like unopened buds.

Perhaps they open at night, or perhaps they're not flowers at all, but something else.

Note that, just below the second bunch of buds down, there's a strange naked phallic excrescence. Maybe it's a flower of the other gender, or maybe it's a new shoot going off to spread around another part of the tree.
If that's so, why does it grow up straight, and not have the sense to go out horizontally, right or left?

I wanted some of these plants to stick on my garden coconut trees, so I went to the jungle, and this is what I found when I stripped one off the tree

The leaves, pair by pair, are like a couple of inter-locking pieces of tortoise-shell armour. (the famous Roman testudo).

Underneath the close cover, the plant's colours are comfortably dark deep purple.

If I knew how to do it, I'd cue in a bit of Smoke on the Water at full volume about here, to make sure you're still reading.

The leaves' edges seal in the darkness and moisture enough to allow the roots to wander over surface of the tree trunk, and pick up nutrients. They don't have to leave their shelter, but some of them do.

This part is not especially strange; many creeping vines send out roots from their leaf nodes.

What is very strange is that this plant's leaves are not just silly old sunshine-pullers (which are wonderful enough), but have developed a strategy of hold-onto-all in convergence with limpets. Unlike limpets, though, they can't move; but they can send out another shoot, and thus progress over the tree bark.

I don't know of any other plants whose leaves have developed into small, domestic houses, where the leaf margins turn themselves into life-sustaining seals.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Barringtonia - Bito'On - Sea Poison Tree

I'm getting into this digital painting lark now, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

This is a crudely altered photo of a Barringtonia or bito'on tree flower.

The tree grows near the shore almost everywhere in the coastal areas of Island SE Asia and Oceania.

It's a wonderful shade tree, and when it's in the mood, produces these fabulous flowers, about three inches across, with a fan of stamens (pistils?) at dusk.

The next morning, they are moribund and abandoned on the ground, as this one was.

A lovely specimen of the tree used to grow in the churchyard in General Luna, but the holy Catholic vandals of that institution cleared it of this and several other beautiful trees.

But Barringtonia doesn't only produce flowers. The fruit look a bit like squared-off apples, and they're valuable. They float very well, so they're widely used as net-floats (and also as the way for Barringtonia to colonise new shorelines).

The area of their distribution is very, very near that of Austronesian languages, and of the natural distribution of coconuts.

And the flesh of the fruit is poisonous to fish. Don't fiddle about with big, bright yellow lures, just zap 'em.

See more about Barringtonia here : (Apologies if you don't go straight to the bookmark; I haven't updated this page for ages).

John Paul Ringo

I got into painting popes and stuff about twenty years ago, when I fell in love with a Venetian (or at least, a Veneto) aristocrat, (or at least, the daughter of a rich industrialist - a bit like that Berlusconi fellow who makes the colourful sweaters).

That happened just as a new Pope ( John Paul I (Latin: Ioannes Paulus PP. I, Italian: Giovanni Paolo I - "Il Sorriso di Dio" (God's Smile)., born Albino Luciani) was elected, and was murdered in a few weeks.

JP1 came from Veneto, and was much appreciated in north-eastern Italy. He was also a little bit too progressive for the College of Cardinals. So somebody did him in. After 33 days in office.

So they elected a new one, and Karol Józef Wojtyła took over.

He was a great guy, who kissed the ground of every country he ever went to, and invented the Popemobile.

But, besides being a lovely man, he was also a bit of a dumb conservative, and kept the Roman Catholic Church on a strait'n'narrow path for more than a quarter of a century.

During all that time, he faithfully followed Pope Montini'sMontini regressive path, and ensured the Holy Roman Catholic Church's irrelevance to the problems of the world today.

The Roman Catholic Church, that could be an enormous force for good, following the examples of Pope John XXIII, and the short-lived John Paul I, was lost forever.

My old painting of John Paul Ringo Superman is getting a bit mouldy now. I've done my best to clean him up, but it just doesn't work.

Them green lizards

Emerald Green Skink - Lamproletis smaragdinus eating geckoWe have a couple of 'daily lizards' around the place.

There are the always-present geckos. As I sit at my worktable in the evening, I can count around a dozen on the walls and ceiling around me.

They chatter, attack and rape each other, and are altogether a very useful digression from the problems of thinking and writing.

But we also have another lizard. The Emerald Green Skink - Lamproletis smaragdinus.

I featured them here. They are very beautiful; one of those things that you see occasionally, that give you immediate pleasure, just from their appearance - a bit like a bunch of silent hot air balloons crossing the escarpment in front of you, as they used to do, over the Chiltern Hills, when I lived in Tring, Hertfordshire. It's only when they pass directly overhead, and fart, as they boost the hot air, that you realise they are not disembodied spirits, but have bodily functions as well.

So when I saw one of my Emerald Lizards chomping a gecko, I was a little disappointed that he had very definite bodily functions, as well.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Cardinal Sins

Seven cardinal sinsThis is one of the last real paintings I made, in 1984; in acrylic on a bit of old board.

All the inner circle to the Pope:

Envy; Gluttony; Anger; Avarice; Pride; Lust, and Sloth.

Later, I did another larger version, with a background of a burning capitalist hell, and better versions of most of the faces, but I never could recapture that wonderful little envious Irishman, on the left. The original came to me in two minutes flat, and was finished. It's never a good idea to try and improve on what comes out first.

You'll probably notice that that was exactly what I did to Sloth, on the top right hand side. No matter what I did, I couldn't get the picture of laziness right.

Cat's Eyes and Digital Painting

Cat skull with cat's eye nebulaThis is my very first digital painting. A cat skull with the Cat's Eye nebula. Not very significant, but it makes for a satisfactory greetings card.

Well, it's actually about the umpteenth version of something I started out on this morning, after being inspired by Maria Guzman's site.

She has developed her paintings, (and all of them are wonderful) using digital methods with, mostly, Native American and architectural motifs, so I've just taken the easy path, and plagiarised her as much as I can.

She suggests that her paintings might be replicated using acrylic media.

She's probably very well aware, though, that brush painting, with bits of pigment in various sloppy media, involves a lot of intractable substances, a great deal of skill, and a degree of craftsmanship and knowledge that most of us, who didn't go through Leonardo da Vinci's school, could never achieve.

Take a look also, at someone who scans, paints, draws, and scans again. This is what I want to get into; truly multi-media expression.

And take a look at my next post, which is a memorial to almost the last painting I did in real physical media, Cardinal Sins.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Viktor's Famous Sunday Lunch

Victor at Flying Fox Bar, Siargao, Philippines Viktor is mine host at the Flying Fox Bar, about 4 miles out of General Luna, opposite a small jungled mountain. Every evening at dusk, like clockwork, a colony of flying foxes sets out from behind the mountain to forage across the island. First, one, then two; then more and more, until hundreds are streaming across the sky in the semi-darkness.

They're big fellows, too. I haven't yet got a good photo of the fly-past, because of the lighting conditions, but you can see some of them that I kept as pets, here. They're not the most charming of animals, possibly because I obtained my specimens from the mananggutay, the man who climbs coconut trees every morning to tap the flower sap for tuba wine.

All my pet bats were alcoholics with hangovers. They got to the fermenting sap before the mananggutay, and were pissed as farts when he picked them up, comatose on the ground next morning.

Sorry about the diversion; back to Viktor. Every Sunday, he hosts a special open-buffet lunch; eat all you can. Price ? P175 - roughly $4 per head. It's the major weekly social gathering for the foreign community in General Luna, and sometimes even further afield.

His menu is, usually:

Roast, crispy-crackling pork or ham
(or sometimes both; Viktor cures his own hams)
Deep-fried chicken
Lambay - blue swimmer crabs
Local Black-Lip pearl oysters
Potato salad
Camote tops salad
Tomato & onion salad
Local cucumbers, pickled

Sometimes he throws in a few boiled camote (sweet potatoes) as well, but the final crowning glory of the meal is Viktor's German Pancake.

This could only be presented by a Bavarian; it's an impossibly rich and delicious pancake stuffed with chocolate sauce and ice cream.

I rely on Viktor's Famous Sunday Lunch for a weekly distillation of the town's gossip.

If you ever come to see our little island, please visit Viktor's Famous Sunday Lunch.

I don't get a commission for this, but sometimes Viktor pops me an extra oyster or two.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Pornography - Some Observations

I don't like pornography - at least, I don't like the stuff that's peddled for inadequates on the internet and in those top-shelf magazines in plastic bags.

If I want to see a c**t in all its great wonder, I really don't have to go to a Broadway movie house, as I once did, to be confronted by a magnified vagina in full, glorious, slippery Technicolor, forty feet high.

I can buy a girl in Cebu for less than the price of a 'Playboy' magazine, and see for myself.

But I do like subtle, arousing (in all the best senses, physical as well as sensual, spiritual, etc, etc) stories and pictures that lead me on to think and feel more ... and more.

One of the very first genuinely porno film scenes I ever saw (in the sense that it aroused real physical feelings in me, not just prurient ones) was the scene in Tom Jones (1963) where Albert Finney and Joyce Redman dine together. Their lip-smacking, smirking attention to each other, while they were only eating something, gave more than a few hints, and stimuli for the imagination, than could any pictures of 40ft high c**ts.

That wonderful scene can be seen here

CO2 Pollution Will Turn the Oceans Into Soda Water

I have seen, since I've lived here in Siargao (just 10 years now) the slow deterioration of the lagoon in front of us, with slimy green algae growing where none did before, shattered and bleached coral reefs, etc.

But I didn't know about this horror to come:
CO2 Pollution Could Erase Coral Reefs (from Wired Science)

It is truly a horrible prospect:
" While most of the attention on the impacts of carbon dioxide emissions has focused on its ability to act as a greenhouse gas, that warms the earth's climate, the changes CO2 emissions will bring to the world's oceans are receiving increasing attention. The more CO2 in the atmosphere, the more of it that dissolves into surface ocean water. That small chemistry change could cause huge changes in marine biology.

Marine organisms, like coral, that build skeletons out of calcium could find themselves unable to do so. If current emissions trends continue over the next decade, the world's marine creatures will be dealing with what's essentially an alien ocean. The last time ocean conditions like those predicted for mid-century existed was long before humans walked the earth".

Not only coral, but shellfish, would be affected. Imagine walking along a beach (if there are any after sea-level rises) and finding the only things washed up were plastic waste and greeny-brown scum, and no sea shells at all.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Shedney Being a Dam' Nuisance

Shedney relaxingPart of my reasoning for my extravagant investment in Shedney's new sari-sari store was to stop her sitting around like this beside my work desk, doing her devilish and seductive best to distract me.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Amimintiks Can See Round Light & 100,000 Colours

Update: 9 July 2008.

Original post here.

I've just learned that my tasty crustacean doesn't have quite the fastest movement of any animal (some ant can snap its jaws faster) but it is the only animal known to see Circular Polarised Light.

The story (I missed it when it came out in March) is at the Wired Science blog.

If you want to know what Circular Polarised Light is, then look at a related news story by the same writer, Brandon Keim, at Wired Science, where this photo came from.

Next time I get some, I'll look 'em right in the eyes before I cook ém.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Elephant in the Room

David Seaton's News Links has posted a link to a wonderful Dutch TV programme on the American-Israeli lobby. It's a must-watch; you won't ever see anything like this on American TV.

Elephant in the Room

David Seaton's News Links has posted a link to a wonderful Dutch TV programme on the American-Israeli lobby. It's a must-watch; you won't ever see anything like this on American TV.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

New Supermarket in General Luna

It's not often that I get invited to open many supermarkets these days, so it was with great pleasure that I officially presided over the opening of Shedney's new sari-sari shop in a nearby street in General Luna.It's not often that I finance a supermarket, either, but I reckoned this was worthwhile project for Shedney, and would keep her occupied, with enough profit for her to buy some of the little absolute essentials that all women seem to need, like hair conditioner regular manicures, etc.

Hopefully, she will become quite self-financing, and my investment ($200) can be repaid, and might even return a profit.It's got all the usual wide range of goods that any sari-sari store has: canned beans, sardines, corned beef, tuna, shampoo and toothpaste sachets, snack packs, soft drinks, sweets, eggs, rum (junior lapad - 375ml at US75c), in other words exactly the same as any other local small shop has.

And she's working hard. She also makes bananacue, fried small bananas coated in sugar, yerma, a sort of toffee ball made with condensed milk and sugar.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Nice green leaf

This is just a nice photo, one of the best I've taken recently, of the underside of a garden leaf. I can't even remember what it's a leaf of, but if you click onto the photo, you'll go to a full-size version that has an extraordinarily calming effect.

Have I just discovered a harmless version of Prozac? Probably, yes. And probably my local postman will misdeliver, again, my royalties cheque.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Raided by Communist Rebels!

Life is so humdrum that there’s nothing much to write about.

Except, suddenly last Saturday night, something newsworthy happened.

We had a raid, the first ever, from the New People’s Army, the rebels from the mainland of Mindanao, who have been fighting the government for about 40 years. They came to General Luna by boat, and shot up the police station, wounding one policeman.

They also went up the road to Katangnan, near the Cloud 9 surfing spot, and had another little fire-fight at a local self-defence-force camp , very near the main resort facilities.

Another bunch commandeered 5 vans, and went to Dapa, about 14 km away, where they did the same, and trashed the municipal offices. They also blew up the connections at two communications towers, leaving us with no cell-phones or internet for a few days.

I slept through it all, of course, and didn’t know anything had happened until Sunday morning when my cell-phone and internet didn’t work. I got the gist of it at Victor’s Sunday Lunch.

It doesn’t worry me very much; the NPA aren’t interested in foreigners, only in corrupt politicians, and everyone’s general poverty, and I am not at all unsympathetic towards their ideals.

One detail was very telling. A policeman, probably drunk, in General Luna, tried to pull out his gun when ordered to kneel down. Someone fired a warning shot, intending to miss. It grazed his leg, so they immediately gave him first aid.

When they left (it was a quick raid), two of their five boats broke down on the way home, so about 20 of them holed up on a small island that is currently being attacked by, amongst other things, helicopter gun-ships.

Sounds to me as if the Philippine authorities have absorbed all the very worst from their American mentors.

If you want to see the official story about how our intrepid police and military chased the rebels, see, the official press release.

The NPA attacked, by name, two people.

Congressman Matugas - (congressman in the Philippines is very much an inherited title - big old Spanish-, or American-helping families were given enough rewards and now have enough cash to bribe voters - much the same as in the US)
Matugas was attacked (only by pamphlet) specifically because he has a 160 hectare farm (400 acres) in the south-east of the island.

There are notices all around it warning trespassers Not to Enter. To make an estate of that size (not very big, in American terms, but a helluvalot on a small island) you have to take away traditional land used communally (and not owned) since the year dot.

But he is pro-poor. That's mostly bullshit, and before you believe it, smell it.

The NPA's other specific target was the mayor of Dapa, Boy Ruaya, who's accused of helping the drug and gambling trades in his town. The NPA are probably right.