Friday, January 19, 2018

Cimetière de Montmarte, a good place to think and rest while in Paris

Graveyards are peaceful places to visit.

I went to Cimetière de Montmartre the last time I visited Paris. I was tired from all the walking and decided to go to a quiet spot. Famous people buried there include the neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, the founder of modern neurology who discovered Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and Charcot disease; Dalida, the famous singer; Alexandre Dumas, the novelist and playwright; Jacques Offenbach, the composer; Émile Zola, the writer; Georges-Fernand-Isidor Widal, bacteriologist who invented the Widal test for typhoid; and François Roland Truffaut, the filmmaker who ushered in the French New Wave. [(Read my ruminations on Les Quatres Cinq Coups (translated The 400 Blows.)]

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I wrote about graveyards because, by the time you read this, we will have buried Lola Gló. The cemetery is nowhere near as beautiful as this, of course—just a patch of land with green grass and a small tombstone—but Lola is home with the Lord, rejoicing and praising her Maker and Redeemer. Job 1:21 resonates with me:

He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD."

Thanks for your prayers.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Precogs, telepaths, and the reversal of time


Ubik 

By Philip K. Dick

Published 1969, Doubleday


The first Philip K. Dick novel Iv'e read is Ubikfirst published in 1969. The story is set in 1992. Special powers exist. Technology has advanced such that the dead can be put in a state of half-life; they can communicate with the living until the signal dies. (I wonder if that's a good thing.)

A group of inertials—men and women who have the special ability to negate powers of precogs and telepaths—is killed by a blast. The survivors go through a time warp and are subjected to rapid deterioration themselves. The panacea is a special spray called Ubik.

I admit I'm not the biggest fan of science fiction, but I was so drawn by this story that I'm resolved to read one of Mr. Dick's novels soon. 

Here's Mr. Dick describing how longing feels like: 

He [the protagonist Joe Chip] gazed at the girl Pat, with her black, strong hair and her sensual mouth; in him he felt unhappy cravings arise, cloudy and pointless wants that led nowhere, that returned to him empty, as in a completion of a geometrically perfect circle.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

How Uber evades the authorities

Uber’s Secret Tool for Keeping the Cops in the Dark, published in Bloomberg. An excerpt.

From San Francisco, Uber routinely protected foreign offices from police raids by rendering computers unusable, often shielding evidence from warranted officials.

This method is called Ripley. It sounds like those things we see in the movies.

When I'm in Manila, I prefer Grab than Uber. The cars arrive earlier, and the fares are generally lower. When I'm running late, or if I have a plane to catch, I hail the regular cab.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Background on The Crown, especially if you're a fan of the show



The Crown is the most expensive Netflix series to make. My family and friends love it, even those who don't care much for royalty. Prince Philip is, of course, my favorite character in the show—I find his political incorrectness hilarious. Who's yours?

Anyway, what will interest you is the BBC documentary, "The Coronation," which features a rare interview with Queen Elizabeth, now longest running monarch in history, whose recollection of her coronation was the fact that the crown was very heavy indeed.



The Crown Jewels, which is also shown in the documentary, is the only working European coronation regalia, and is considered the largest in the world.

Colour photo of the regalia published in 1952
Photo credit: United Kingdom Government - Illustrated magazine, 13 December 1952, p. 14 (via Wikipedia)

Monday, January 15, 2018

Gloria Catedral, 90

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Lola and Lolo, circa 1980s.

Gloria Catedral, Lola Gló to us, has come home to be with the Lord in heaven. She was 90. She was hospitalized the day I got home. She died peacefully tonight.

We visited her most times of the week, singing her favorite hymns, especially "Great Is Thy Faithfulness." She battled severe infection in her lungs. Prior to that she has had a stroke and has mostly been wheelchair bound.

I'm comforted with Resurrection, one of the Puritan prayers in the Valley of Vision, compiled by Arthur Bennett.

O God of my exodus,
Great was the joy of Israel’s sons
when Egypt died upon the shore,
Far greater the joy
when the Redeemer’s foe lay crushed in the dust!

Jesus strides forth as the victor,
conqueror of death, hell, and all opposing might;
He bursts the bands of death,
tramples the powers of darkness down,
and lives forever.

He, my gracious surety,
apprehended for payment of my debt,
comes forth from the prison house of the grave
free, and triumphant over sin, Satan, and death.

Show me the proof that his vicarious offering is accepted,
that the claims of justice are satisfied,
that the devil’s scepter is shivered,
that his wrongful throne is leveled.

Give me the assurance that in Christ I died,
in him I rose,
in his life I live,
in his victory I triumph,
in his ascension I shall be glorified.


We'll miss you, La.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Chapter by chapter, text by text

Why We Believe In Systematic Expository Preaching, a beautiful essay by Andrew Roycroft. An excerpt:

I believe that the Bible is not a metal-tweezered promise box from which we can select our favourite passages and promises at random.
I believe that the pulpit is not a stable in which I get to show off my favourite hobby horses to a weary congregation.
I believe that the authority of the preacher is always secondary to the authority of Scripture as revealed by God.
I believe that the Scriptures are God breathed in their entirety, and that their structural integrity is part and parcel of how we come into contact with what God has said, and how God has said it.
I remember listening to Sunday preaching on the Gospel of John for all of my college life. What a feast for the soul it has been.

May the Lord prepare your hearts and minds for His Word faithfully preached this Sunday.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Brighter side of 2017: a list

To most of us, 2017 has been dismal, but there have been great developments in public health and medicine that we haven't heard of. Angus Hervey listed 99 Reasons 2017 Was A Great Year.

A few resonate with me.

2. Cancer deaths have dropped by 25% in the United States since 1991, saving more than 2 million lives. Breast cancer deaths have fallen by 39%, saving the lives of 322,600 women. 
10. In July, UNAIDS, revealed that for the first time in history, half of all people on the planet with HIV are now getting treatment, and that AIDS deaths have dropped by half since 2005. 
13. Thanks to better access to clean water and sanitation, the number of children around the world who are dying from diarrhoea has fallen by a third since 2005. 
14. Leprosy is now easily treatable. The number of worldwide cases has dropped by 97% since 1985, and a new plan has set 2020 as the target for the end of the disease. 
16. And on the 17th November, the WHO said that global deaths from tuberculosis have fallen by 37% since 2000, saving an estimated 53 million lives. These astonishing achievements were of course, reported by every media outlet on the planet.

How was your 2017? I suppose it always pays to look on the bright side of life.

Redesign 2018, version 1

I'm pleased with the website's new look, thanks to this interesting repository of Blogger templates. I picked tdSimple, designed by Taras Dashkevych, for its elegance. It has a minimalistic design: single column, with a readable serif font.




The side bar can be accessed through the "+" sign on the upper right hand corner.







Its blockquotes are indented, in italics, in a gray background, just the way I want them to be.



There's a new About Me page, featuring a photo of myself taken by my friend Racquel during a trip to Taiwan.




This redesign also comes with a new direction for this blog.

For this year, I want to talk about myself less (a resolution that's probably antithetical to the new tagline, "Minutiae of my every day since 2014") and therefore become more curatorial. I hope to feature links and stories that interest me and you—topics along the lines of evangelical Christianity, literature and books, medicine and technology, language, and coffee. The Web features many good things, despite the many bad that have come with it.

Thanks for always dropping by.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

To the beach!

Gumasa, an area in the coastal town of Glan, Sarangani, is two hours away from Koronadal. This was the first place that came to mind when I asked my family if we could go to the beach. Sean had to go to his clinic and didn't go with us.

Much of the town's land area is considered protected area by DENR.

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We reached Gumasa just before sunset. The drive was scenic.

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At Isla Jardin Resort.
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View of Sarangani Bay.

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The waters were clear.

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We woke up early to have our morning stroll and swim. We were warned that the waves could get brutal and strong, but we were greeted with calm waters. Praise God!

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Auntie Net, our family's version of the Khaleesi.

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It was Auntie Bebet's first time in the area. This was my second. I still remember the first time we went here: dirt roads, no electricity, but, ah, white sand! The star fish we caught! The sea urchins that stung us! Great memories of childhood.

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Tatay and Nanay.

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Our hearts were full.
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