Did you know that Hitler had only one testicle? Not that the world gave a damn; hell, even Eva Braun his wife of two days never even complained for the lack of it upon discovery in one of their kinky intimacies.
This writing may have come about from scorn over a leader that the Deutsche people once thought would deliver them out of an embarrassing defeat in war and a repressive war treaty; but whose personality dysfunction marked humanity’s darkest hours. Record shows the German dictator caused a conflict that led to the greatest number of deaths in all the wars by far. Over sixty (60) million people died. Majority of these are civilian deaths at forty-five (45) million with battle wounded up to twenty-five (25) million. These numbers do not include those casualties related to famine and disease, torture, rape and crimes against humanity. If the numbers dizzy you, a million is one thousand times one thousand.
“Are we all set? … Let’s go”. We all took off early on wheels to northern part of Cebu. It is 5:00 AM and the amber glow of morning light washed up the sky, evaporating the last of the evening away.
The dawn didn’t seem to have any memory of the night before. It was a night of dark clouds, rain and thunder that boomed across the horizons. And, although still soggy, cold and damp, it appears to augur a beautiful day ahead. And what better way to celebrate that promise than a roadtrip, relish on some native food along the way, be flexible with the destination and enjoy each other’s company.
Waking up and starting a road trip at this hour, either you hear the distant crow of chicken trumpeting the arrival of a new day or you hear silence – the deafening sound of silence. I wonder if Paul Simon got the kick out of writing one of their classics in the foggy embrace of early morn. I tried to ignore the thought, but the song keeps repeating itself in my brain. With no particular destination in mind, we just thread where the road leads.
Roy Barnes, a US governor of the state of Georgia in 2003 said: “traffic is only one of the side effects of growth”. I disagree. I say failure of government’s foresight, lack of planning and negligent execution is the cause of traffic woes.
And what is true to Georgia, USA is also true to any congested city in the world – Cebu included. In particular, the horrendous rate of number of new vehicles pouring into our streets every year, government’s inability to build new alternate roads and interminable road repairs and the unrestrained self-indulgent drivers. All these collectively are the ones causing traffic woes in Cebu.
DOTr records as published in: www.dotr.gov.ph said that in 2011, Cebu registered 574,640 vehicles. The following year, vehicle registration reached 625,319. That is 50,679 additional new vehicles. That’s one vehicle every two seconds plying on the same road.
“I am sorry, you’ll die in five …”, said the doctor as he was cut short in mid-sentence. “Five what? Years? Months? What?”, interrupted the druggie-patient in a weak voice and breath so shallow and expelled with little force. “You’ll die in five … four … three … two … one …”
Dying cannot go any faster than the above portrayal by way of an anecdote, does it? Use of illegal drugs and alcohol abuse are two godheads of the devil that ravages the soul. Not only is its illegal use the shortest route to the grave, it also leads for a long and tormented rotten life as it is also devastates the family.
Alcohol like marijuana is also a drug classified as depressant. A little bit of alcohol will result in slurred speech, uninhibited talk and inability to think clearly and react quickly. Marijuana too is another depressant. These two combined in one’s body can lead to unpredictable results.
Yes, the above title is a line from a TV ad that the advertising company came up with for their client, a pharmaceutical firm that sells Pharmaton vitamins. Or so I thought it was until I discovered later that the line came from Napoleon Hill, an American writer.
In the ad, a man was seen running away from a fire-breathing hell’s miscreation and hot on his heels. The escape route he was treading on dead ended into a deep ravine. With nowhere to go and no one to turn to, he only has himself to count on. He composed himself; summons up all energy from every fiber in his body and leaped out and over the abyss like a cheetah in full stretch to the other side.
The TV ad, as portrayed in that 30-second sequel ferret out the message that; if man only aspire for something, anything bigger than what he thought he can do, the body will bring about that change.
They say beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost. Well that’s exactly what I was set to do that weekend, a Saturday morning. And what better way to get lost than thread the road less traveled with my mountain bike.
To prepare for the ride, I bought extra pairs of tire tubes and patches for good measure. I also bought a high pressure tire pump with its complementary contraption that holds it to the frame. The checklist was long with things I may not even have a need for; but what the hell, I’m already in for it.
It was still dark and soggy at 5AM when I woke from a fitful sleep. I staggered out of bed and switched on the light. I plugged on the kettle and fix myself an extra strong coffee to evaporate the cobwebs of sleep left in my head. Outside, the tree leaves and shrubberies, sagged by the weight of mist bearing down on them, appears to meditate in solemn repose. And the sky is queer to be awashed in an amber shade of the dawn light.
The chance of winning the grand Philippine Lotto is 1 to 13 million. Put another way, there are 13 million more people (or number combinations) likely to win over you. Those are really steep numbers. One must be extremely lucky to beat the odds.
Despite the unlikely possibility, people still rush to buy tickets especially as lottery amount gets higher and higher. All these in the fervent hope of winning that could change their lives. And that’s exhilarating. Experts say the mere act of buying a ticket itself brings a rush of happiness to the buyer due to the rise of hope and fantasies for a better life.
But is that all there is to it – money and the countless abundance of it?
Being apolitical I stay free from commenting anything that has to do with state policies. But really, with news all in TV, internet, newspaper and mobile phones, I thought they’re ubiquitous to miss. They’re inescapable, actually. So allow me to share my two cents.
One of President ‘Digong’ Duterte’s campaign promises that were well received by the people is Federalism. It turn out that the clamor for it has its roots in history. It was said that Apolinario Mabini and Emilio Aguinaldo were the first to highlight that need. Now and quite loudly, they’re peddled by luminaries: UP Professor Jose Abueva, former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel and President Digong.
All of them argue that a shift to federal form will lead to decentralization and strengthen/empower local autonomy. Federal region-states will have access to and usage of resources and amp self-determination. This will also solve the issue of Muslim Mindanao and help placate the Moro insurgents.
Yet rather than jump the gun too soon, let us find more that needs fixing.
The Sun is way up at 8AM and filtered through the heavy morning haze. All around is soggy with previous day’s torrent and pavements in puddles of water and muddy at some places. Despite the weather’s grim forecast, typical of notorious November monsoon, it didn’t dampen the spirit of those that slept in or pulled through the night.
Such is the yearly scenery every November 1 where the livings honor their dead at their resting places. One place is barangay Marigondon, Lapu-Lapu City’s Mactan Island Memorial Gardens.