Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tsk Tsk

Trading at the Philippine Stock Exchange closed to a 6-week low as share prices dropped almost 8%. This is a reaction to Asian markets' reaction to the US stock prices plunge.
Let me say this to a friend, who must have muttered this himself: Si Gloria kasi! Tsk Tsk!

February, the 28th

Today is the end of the month. One year from now, today wouldn't be the end of the month. Leap year. A classmate from kinder to senior high (and possibly in the intarmed program at UP too if I pursued that course), Donna, now Dr. Donna to us, celebrates her "real" birthday only every four years. For three years in between, we greet her on the 28th. Happy Birthday Doc!

I know of only one other who was born February 29 -- Happy Birthday Monica!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Feeder schools

In a meeting today, we looked into academic quality indicators in my school and have gotten the ill feeling that there seems to be a deterioration in the performance of some students in their freshman year. I have to admit that the blame falls squarely on us running the school including the teachers. For if the students have not learned, we, teachers, have not taught. Although it has been said that it always takes two to tango, and that this deterioration can also be traced to the family and the students, I would feel better to put more blame on us.

Surely the study habits of our students need to be improved. We accept that fact, considering that the study techniques that they should have learned when they were in the elementary grades and high school were never emphasized enough to develop into good study habits. The environments in the family and in the school were not sufficient to encourage study. They did not have exclusive study areas or rooms that facilitate study in the home (which are usually one-room affairs) and school and extra-curricular activities kept them off their books even in their free times at school.
And now, they seem to have even more distractions than before, conditions that make study very difficult.

It is not that we are not doing anything. We have reserved the first hour (homeroom period) everyday as study time (self-managed time, we call it), with supervision by their class advisers and officers. Forced study time (reminds me of the forced nap time back in Kindergarten). But it is not enough.

We need to start them young. That is, to help guarantee that we get better students out of high school, we will help the high schools graduate better students, perhaps starting from when they are in their elementary grades. We will look at these schools as feeder schools. A sort of NBA Development League. This is not a new strategy. My university alma mater has been doing this for many decades and they have succeeded (I was never in the program myself, but I had classmates who were invited to the program). As these students will have acquired the habit of studying even under adverse circumstances, they should perform better with us.

The good news is that a foreign granting institution can help us see this through if we get to convince them well enough. We also need to invite our friends to help us in this as well.

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Henin . . . again

Justine wins the Dubai Open for the fourth time. She beat Amelie 6-4, 7-5.

Read on.

Statistics again IV

Here are two comments on statistics use. Both about the "not so inconvenient truth".
Here and here.
Read also Michael Crichton here. Must-read.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Farewell to a great Celtic

We read of the death of former Boston Celtics Dennis Johnson. Dennis collapsed at the end of practice with his Austin Toros. He was 52. He had two championship rings with the Celtics (84 and 86) and one ring with the Supersonics (79). He retired after the 89-90 season and was one of The Bird's favorite players.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Planet Gore

National Review Online created a site devoted to Global Warming. It is aptly called Planet Gore. Check it out.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Praying soldiers

On the boat to Cagayan de Oro City last Thursday evening, I coincided with a big group of young people on their way to Lanao del Norte for a Singles for Christ Leadership Seminar (for a Christian group doing a seminar in Lanao del Norte, that takes a lot of faith, huh?). Oh yeah, they were loud and confident, in an edifying way. The vibrancy of youth, the confidence that children of God have!

What struck me was a group from the Philippine Military Academy, with the matching athletic suits and crew cuts. They were in a huddle on the rubber mats near the indoor playground. Praying, holding hands at certain times. Oh yes. Praying soldiers. Forgot to take a picture, though.

(A friend who is running for mayor in his town in Central Mindanao says that the NPA -- whose commanders are known to him -- pray, call out to the saints, when the bullets and mortars start to fly. Then again, even the Islamists call out to Allah. Why shouldn't our soldiers do the same?)

Thomas Sowell's Global Hot Air

Is it all hot air, this global warming alarmism?
Read Thomas Sowell @ Townhall.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


Thomas Sowell

The political left's favorite argument is that there is no argument. Their current crusade is to turn "global warming" into one of those things that supposedly no honest and decent person can disagree about, as they have already done with "diversity" and "open space."

The name of "science" is invoked by the left today, as it has been for more than two centuries. After all, Karl Marx's ideology was called "scientific socialism" in the 19th century. In the 18th century, Condorcet analogized his blueprint for a better society to engineering, and social engineering has been the agenda ever since.

Not all the advocates of "global warming" are on the left, of course. Crusades are not just for crusaders. There are always hangers-on who can turn the true believers' crusades into votes or money or at least notoriety.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Those stats again III

Those stats again.

At the dermatologist's clinic

Over a month ago, I noticed a growth on my left cheek. Thinking that it was just a pimple, I did not give it much thought. But it was growing, and many people asked me about it, that I decided to ask a dermatologist friend (only the best in Cebu, reason I will say later) when we had a chance meeting in one activity (ambush consultation). After he looked at the growth, he told me that I had to see him in his clinic when I can. So I told him that I will just set an appointment with her secretary. He told me to just go and tell the secretary that I was there for a personal matter (later I thought that seeing a doctor for treatment has to be personal). Okay, Thursday, then (last week).

Thursday I went to his clinic early, before 8am, because I wanted to be first in line, too ashamed to cut before the others. What I saw when I arrived was depressing. It was not because the people waiting were the ugliest (sorry) people in the city -- no, they were in fact the more beautiful and handsome ones. It was depressing that there were already about 20 people there, and the office had not even opened. If this isn't a sign that he is the best, I don't know what is.

Backtrack. Once, many years ago, in one masters class I was enrolled in, a classmate arrives late. She was "justifying" to me (as she was my seatmate) that she was at her dermatologist and she had to wait long for her turn, hence her tardiness in class. So as not to prolong my distraction, I told her that she should look for another dermatologist. The was the dumbest comment, I realized. Because she gave me a litany of reasons why she cannot do that -- although, I can summarize in a few words: I can't, he's the best.

I wanted to go home. In the end, I had to miss seeing him that day because of some emergency at work. Doc actually saw me when he arrived and wondered why I had already gone when he called for me.

Today, I tried again after sending Doc a message yesterday that I was going to see him Wednesday. Same routine. Before 8am. It was not so depressing when I arrived because there were only about 19 yet. I entered the office and waited for my turn to be listed (it's first come, first served). But the secretary had been informed that I was coming and when I mentioned my name, there was some fear in her eyes, no, kidding. She recognized my name and told me that I was expected but that Doc was coming at 9am yet (which I knew) and that will have to wait.

So wait I did outside the office along the corridor. There was a girl of probably 8 accompanying her mom from Toledo City. The girl was Nicole. As I was WIFIng on my PDA, Nicole sits beside me (there was a bench that was "reserved" for patients of another clinic but since it was empty yet, I sat there) and looks at what I was doing. I found out later that her mom was accompanying her (Nicole's) grandmother to see the doctor. There was a former student of mine WalterJ at CITE who was also waiting for his doctor, and it was good chatting with him. There were a handful of medreps, who felt "bad" that the delivery men of bouquets of flowers just went past them. There was Cindy, one of my former students at UP who deals in drugs (hehe, medical rep) who went into another clinic but I did not have a chance to speak with her as I had to go for my "procedure".

Oh yes. The secretary calls me when Doc arrived. I knew I was leapfrogging everyone else. I walked with my head bowed into his clinic. In 5 minutes, Doc was done. I left his clinic with my head bowed. I did not want to "cut" but I guess that's what friends are for. And I did not even ask how much I had to pay. Guess I will have to make a call to him (what was I thinking?).

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Some visitors to my school

Jun, who used to be Corporate Secretary of CITE Technical Institute, Inc., and now runs a study and activities center for students in Taipei, recently brought some Taiwanese university students to a workcamp in Alegria, Cebu. Yesterday, they came to visit CITE. Another picture here.

Justine in Paris

Justine's playing in the Paris Open this week. This is her first tournament since beating Amelie Mauresmo in the Tour Championship in Madrid that put her at #1. This is also the first tournament she joins since she said she was separating from her husband. She thought of playing her first competitive tournament of 2007 in Dubai later this month yet, but she says, "It is because I love tennis so much. I just could not stay away from the courts any longer." It would have better if she could say that of her marriage. But they have their reasons. At least she has not said anything bad about Yves and her marriage, save that they could no longer stay together (at least for now, my fingers crossed).

Monday, February 05, 2007


Sonno pazzi questi tifosi

Hooliganism has reared its ugly head once again. I tifosi of both sides came out fighting after the Sicilian derby pitting 5th place Catania against 3rd place Palermo. In fact the game Friday was halted for about 30 minutes after tear gas used to stop fighting fans in the stands drifted to the pitch. The clashes between fans and later the police left about 70 injured and one fatality, local policeman Filippo Raciti, 38, who died when a bomb was thrown into his car as he came to help put order in the streets. Serie A and B football matches were stopped.

It almost shames me that my blogname resembles a common Italian cheer. Not even Ronaldo's transfer to the ACM last week could lift Italian soccer from the pits after the violence (as if it would have really mattered even without the violence).

It is good that Italian soccer authorities have done what they did, although some say, too late the hero. Nevertheless, they should make sure that when they allow games again, tougher laws should be in place and enforcement is carried out strictly. I hear that one thing they plan to do is to put the ballclubs accountable for actions of their tifosi. They could also ban hooligans -- remember that they once banned all Inter fans from watching the continuation of the the match against ACM.

* from SPQR (Senatus Populusque Romanus) or as some Romans say: Sonno pazzi questi Romani.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Forza Ronaldo!

Well, we have him. Am a little ambivalent though. Ronaldo is now a rossonero. Here is from his previous club. I hope that Ronaldo can get ACM back on track (they just got their butts kicked out of the Italian Cup, struggling in Serie A, but into the first knockout round in Champions League against Celtic (2/20 and 3/07). There are three reasons why I am not so excited about him: 1. Real Madrid (his previous loser team), 2. Inter Milan (another of his previous loser team), and 3. Brazil (#1 Fifa team, but as of last WC, also a loser team).