Thursday, March 31, 2016
You know ... time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware of the passing years. It seems just yesterday that I was young, just married and embarking on my new life with my mate. Yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder where all the years went. I know that I lived them all. I have glimpses of how it was back then and of all my hopes and dreams.
But, here it is... the “back nine” of my life and it catches me by surprise...How did I get here so fast? Where did the years go and where did my youth go?
I remember well seeing older people through the years and thinking that those older people were years away from me and that “I was only on the first hole” and the “back nine” was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it would be like.
But, here it is...my friends are retired and getting gray... they move slower and I see an older person now. Some are in better and some worse shape than me...but, I see the great change...Not like the ones that I remember who were young and vibrant...but, like me, their age is beginning to show and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never thought we'd become.
Each day now, I find that just getting a shower is a real target for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore... it's mandatory! Cause if I don't on my own free will... I just fall asleep where I sit!
And so...now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did!! But, at least I know, that though I’m on the “back nine”, and I'm not sure how long it will last... this I know, that when it's over on this earth...it's over. A new adventure will begin! Yes, I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn't done...things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I'm happy to have done. It's all in a lifetime.
So, if you're not on the “back nine” yet...let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life please do it quickly! Don't put things off too long!! Life goes by quickly. So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether you’re on the “back nine” or not!
You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life... so, live for today and say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember...and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in all the years past!!
"Life" is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after. Make it a fantastic one. LIVE IT WELL! ENJOY TODAY! DO SOMETHING FUN! BE HAPPY ! HAVE A GREAT DAY Remember "It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver. LIVE HAPPY IN 2013!
LASTLY, CONSIDER THIS: ~Your kids are becoming you... but your grandchildren are perfect! ~Going out is good.. Coming home is better! ~You forget names.... But it's OK because other people forgot they even knew you!!! ~You realize you're never going to be really good at anything.... especially golf. ~The things you used to care to do, you no longer care to do, but you really do care that you don't care to do them anymore. ~You sleep better on a lounge chair with the TV blaring than in bed. It's called "pre-sleep". ~You miss the days when everything worked with just an "ON" and "OFF" switch.. ~You tend to use more 4 letter words ... "what?"..."when?"...” ??? ~Now that you can afford expensive jewelry, it's not safe to wear it anywhere. ~You notice everything they sell in stores is "sleeveless"?!!! ~What used to be freckles are now liver spots. ~Everybody whispers. ~You have 3 sizes of clothes in your closet.... 2 of which you will never wear. ~~~But Old is good in some things: Old Songs, Old movies, and best of all, OLD FRIENDS!!
Stay well, "OLD FRIEND!" Send this on to other "Old Friends!" and let them laugh in AGREEMENT!!! It's Not What You Gather, But What You Scatter That Tells What Kind Of Life You Have Lived.
JUST FOR TODAY, I will live through this day only. I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow. I will not set far-reaching goals or try to overcome all of my problems at once. I know that I can do something for 24 hours that would overwhelm me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime.
JUST FOR TODAY, I will be happy. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. If my mind fills with clouds, I will chase them away and fill it with sunshine.
JUST FOR TODAY, I will accept what is. I will face reality. I will correct those things I can correct and accept those I cannot.
JUST FOR TODAY, I will improve my mind. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration. I will not be a mental loafer.
JUST FOR TODAY, I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will be kind and courteous to those who cross my path, and I'll not speak ill of others. I will improve my appearance, speak softly, and not interrupt when someone else is talking.
JUST FOR TODAY, I will refrain from improving anybody but myself.
JUST FOR TODAY, I will do something positive to improve my health. If I'm a smoker, I'll quit. If I am overweight, I will eat healthfully - if only just for today. And not only that, I will get off the couch and take a brisk walk, even if it's only around the block.
JUST FOR TODAY, I will gather the courage to do what is right and take responsibility for my own actions.
1. “A positive attitude gives you power over your circumstances instead of your circumstances having power over you.” — Joyce Meyer
11. “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
With the ever-increasing use of computers in our daily lives, our eyes can suffer negative consequences. Studies have shown that eye strain and other symptoms occur in some 50-90% of people who use a computer for extended periods of time (such as those who work at a desk job).
Here are 10 tips for preventing eye strain while using a computer:
1. Get an eye exam
If you work on a computer or use it for a large part of your day, be sure to have a comprehensive eye exam. The USA’s National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health recommends that those who use a computer for many hours each week should have an eye exam once each year.
When you go for your exam, tell your eye doctor how many hours you use your computer each week. Furthermore, you should measure how far away you sit from your computer screen and take the measurement with you to your appointment.
2. Be aware of lighting
Sunlight can have an adverse effect on your eyes when using a computer, so close any blinds or drapes if there’s bright sunlight flooding into the space you sit in. You can also consider turning off any harsh lighting and using a floor lamp instead. Another idea is to use lower-intensity overhead bulbs or tubes to reduce brightness.
3. Keep glare to a minimum
Glare on walls or finished surfaces, together with reflections on your computer screen, can also contribute to eye strain. If the latter is a problem, consider buying an anti-glare screen. A more drastic way of reducing glare is to paint walls in the space you use with dark-colored, matte paint.
Covering Windows will also obviously help reduce glare. If you happen to wear glasses, consider investing in some anti-reflective lenses, which will minimize light reflections when compared to regular lenses.
4. Upgrade your monitor
If you’re still using an old monitor, think about upgrading to a modern flat-panel, liquid crystal display monitor, such as those found in laptops. LCD technology is easier on the eyes and usually comes with a built-in anti-reflective surface.
Go for a monitor with a diagonal screen size of 19 inches or over if you’re using a desktop computer.
5. Adjust your display settings
Adjust your monitor’s brightness so it’s approximately as bright as the lighting in the space you use your computer in. Open a webpage with a white background to test your monitor’s brightness. If the white background looks like a light source, that means it’s too bright. If the white background seems dull and gray, that means it’s too dark. Also consider adjusting text sizes and the color contrast.
These settings can be adjusted from buttons on your monitor, in the Control Panel on a Windows computer, or in System Preferences on an Apple computer.
6. Be aware of how often you’re blinking
Blinking is a process that helps to moisten eyes, preventing them from dryness and irritation. People tend to blink one-third less frequently when using a computer, and this reduction can lead to dry eye problems, further exacerbated by the dry air that is often present in office environments (if you use a computer for work).
Ask your doctor about artificial tears to keep your eyes moist during the day.
7. Do eye exercises
One of the causes of eye strain from using a computer is focusing fatigue. To reduce the risk of tiring your eyes out, look away from your screen at least once every 20 minutes. Look at a distant object, preferably 20 feet away or over, for at least 20 seconds. This exercise, known as the 20-20-20 rule to some doctors, relaxes the focusing muscle in your eyes and can assist greatly with minimizing focusing fatigue.
8. Take an hourly break
If and when possible, take a five-minute mini-break following every hour you sit at your computer. During this time, get up and out of the seated position and move about. Stretch your arms, legs, back and neck to reduce tension and muscle fatigue.
Ask your local gym or fitness club for a series of exercises you can do during your mini-breaks.
9. Change how you sit
Sitting improperly when using your computer can also contribute to eye strain. Make sure you’re sitting at the correct height. Purchasing ergonomic furniture can also help you get your seating position right. Your eyes should be 20-24 inches from your screen, and the center of your screen should be 10-15 degrees below eye level.
10. Consider purchasing computer-specific eye wear
If you have eye glasses, get your eye doctor to modify your regular prescription to create customized computer glasses. This is especially handy if you wear bifocal or progressive lenses, because they are not optimal for use at the distance you’d normally sit from your computer screen.
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
It’s almost April ladies and gentlemen and it seems like that this year’s election is going to be an exciting one. This is especially true for our presidential candidates who just recently had quite a spectacular debate on TV. It was very interesting to see three of the candidates jostle against one another through intellect and wit. Okay, well yeah, Vice President Binay kind of cheated as he had access through his notes but, according to some of the execs on the show did tell him that bringing a political version of “cheat codes” (POWER OVERWHELMING! I just had to say that!) to the debate.
Then we have Mar Roxas who seems so desperate for the position that it’s no longer even funny. Okay, back when he first started, maybe it wasn’t so bad, but today his efforts seem so pathetic that one can only pity him. One has to wonder what pushes him to continue humiliating himself by desperately trying to reach out to the Filipino people with nothing but blatant lies. Could his wife be putting him up for this? Is he doing this to secure wealth and power for himself? Or perhaps, in some twisted and insane way, he really believes that he can be of service to the Filipino people by continuing the Liberal Party’s corrupt and unethical reign over the Philippines.
Whatever the case, he fails to see that his desperation to become president only makes him look more and more like a fool in the eyes of the common people. Sure, he might have been quite amusing once with his photo ops doing various mundane things that he’s clearly not cut out for but now, well, it’s a different story. Now he just looks like a bachelor desperate for a partner at a prom. He seems less like a dignified statesman and solid presidential candidate and instead behaves like a clingy stalker desperate for some attention.
Of course, were it not for his three worst actions listed below, perhaps things might seem less hopeless for the pitiful DILG secretary…
His Acceptance Of President Aquino’s Approval
Okay, I know that hardline supporters of the Aquino family are going to disagree with this but just about everyone else in the Philippines is well aware of President Aquino’s utter and total incompetence as a leader. We saw it in the way he has time and time again neglected his duties as an actual president and has only shown nothing but false statistics to make it appear that he did achieve “something”. When caught or called out however, he has only resorted to blaming his predecessors and refused to take any kind of responsibility for any issues even though as president, he is supposedly the Philippines’ final and most important authority.
When Mar Roxas accepted President Aquino’s approval, he pretty much created his own greatest obstacle to the presidency. Couldn’t he see that majority of the people have had enough of President Aquino and now hate him for everything he’s worth? I guess not with the way he champions the idea of continuing President Aquino’s “Daang Matuwid” (Straight Path) which the people of the Philippines have come to regard as the cause of all their current woes.
It would’ve perhaps been more beneficial to Mr. Roxas if he had just politely declined President Aquino’s approval and allowed Vice President Jejomar Binay to have it instead. That way, he could shift all the hate towards Mr. Binay who has already earned quite a bit of flak for cases of corruption and kept his name and reputation free of any unwanted associations. Of course, considering the fact that President Aquino has a large number of allies in the media, one could assume he accepted it for the sake of popularity. Unfortunately, hardly anyone trusts the media allies of the Aquino family anymore either.
The “Fast Forward” Video
I and a lot of other writers have written quite a bit about Mar Roxas’ promotional campaign video. However, it needs mentioning again considering the latest turn of events.
For those who don’t remember, the “Fast Forward” video showed various celebrities mostly from ABS-CBN in a Utopian setting that claims to be what will become of the Philippines if President Aquino’s “Daang Matuwid” were to continue under Mar Roxas. Unfortunately, this rubbed the people the wrong way as it presented an exclusive society of famous and wealthy individuals, a lot of whom aren’t even full Filipino citizens. Worse yet, this made many who saw the video wonder if Mr. Roxas had instead used the funds intended for the victims of Yolanda to make the rather extravagant video to boost his image.
In Youtube alone, the “Fast Forward” garnered as many as 20,000 dislikes as people made it clear that they were not amused by Mr. Roxas’ promotional video.
The “Gitna Ng Unos” Comic
Ah, the final nail in the coffin for Mar Roxas potential presidency…
“Gitna ng Unos” (In the Middle of a Storm) was supposed to be a propaganda comic meant to depict Mar Roxas as a kind of hero to the Filipino people. The comic goes on depict him as a heroic figure who spearheaded disaster preparations in Tacloban before Typhoon Yolanda arrived and decimated everything. Worse, the comic insists that he was a self-sacrificing leader even though it’s quite clear from many eyewitnesses and people who know the man personally that he is very self-centered and isn’t attentive towards his constituents.
For many, Mr. Roxas propaganda comic is the last straw. Not only is he puffing up his own image through lies, he is blatantly insulting the victims of the Yolanda tragedy as it was very clear that he did very little to help the people of Tacloban. Indeed, it was partly his incompetence and arrogance that caused the damage and death toll to rise to such a staggering height. Had he requisitioned more resources and taken the threat of Yolanda more seriously, perhaps more people would’ve survived and less damaged would’ve been incurred upon Tacloban.
So no, a paltry comic isn’t going to change Mar Roxas already disgusting image and has only served to worsen it before his growing number of detractors…
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
The cornerstone of presidential candidate and former Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign is a promise to curb galloping national crime rates that have left Filipinos gripped by fear. According to Duterte, his presidential term will be “bloody”, presumably said blood spilt when he makes good on his promise to kill criminals.
How exactly is Duterte going to do it?
The law allows very narrow latitude for police officers to use lethal force against a civilian. According to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Guidebook on Human Rights-Based Policing, “Lethal force should not be used except when strictly unavoidable in order to protect your life or the lives of others.” And even before an officer gets to the point where the option to use legal force becomes relevant, there is a bevy of procedures and guidelines that govern how he or she should approach a suspect even just for questioning.
It is likely that most, if not all, instances where a Duterte-style “kill” by a PNP officer may occur involve an arrest-without-warrant scenario. In such scenarios, the rule book stipulates that such an approach is legal (1) when the suspect “has committed, is actually committing, or attempting to commit an offense or crime in the presence of a police officer,” or (2) when “an offense or crime has just been committed and the police officer has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested had committed the said offense or crime.”
But even when in custody, a suspect then enjoys presumption of innocence until proven guilty by a Philippine court. This means, a police officer cannot make summary judgment and act on said judgment on the spot. In short, even if a crook is caught red-handed, Duterte’s police officers and agents cannot issue a guilty verdict and kill said crook on the basis of that verdict. The suspect becomes subject to due process.
How then can a police officer get around these legal roadblocks to killing crooks?
The only way shooting a crook can be justified is if said crook poses an imminent danger to the arresting or intervening officer or to other people. That said, it is quite easy for police officers to set-up an operation in a manner that will provoke crooks to resort to violence and undertake actions deemed physically-threatening to police officers. Then again, a dead crook has no way of proving that he or she was in the process of surrendering when shot at by the cops. A battered and bruised crook can be made out to have been “roughed up” by civilians before the police arrived. Many ways to skin a cat, for sure.
Who would believe crooks anyway? Indeed, the Philippines, to begin with, has a strong tradition of lynching and subjecting its people to the court of public opinion. Even top politicians and government officials have succumbed to a his-word-against-hers “trial” wherein the most authoritative or the loudest voicegets to be right.
In that sense, a police operation is no different to, say, a Philippine Senate “Inquiry”. In both cases, there is always a potential for the “suspect” to be tagged guilty even before he or she ever faces a judge in a real court. Former Chief Justice Renato Corona is an example. His career was killed not by a Philippine judge but by a mob of highly-“motivated” Philippine senators and a cadre of “cooperative” Filipino journalists.
Filipinos will likely relish the bloody slaughter of criminals under a Duterte presidencey much the same way they make bloodsports of the Senate “Inquiries” that are ratings bonanzas for the “news and public affairs” programs of big Philippine media networks. In both cases the Philippine judiciary plays no part, yet guilt and retribution abound nonetheless.
In that sense, a Duterte presidency will, indeed make good on its promise to kill criminals much the same way as President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III made good on his promise to impeach Corona. A popular lynching, after all, is, by all intents and purposes, legal in the Philippines.
“I feel so grateful, and I hope that I can open doors for other trans guys.”
When 29-year-old Benjamin Melzer, the first transgender man to be on the cover of Men’s Health Germany, stopped by BuzzFeed News for a chat, he brought along his mom Margret. Soft-spoken and low-key, Melzer doesn’t demand attention — until he gets in front of a camera, where he somehow feels at home.
“Modeling, standing in front of the camera is so my thing. It doesn’t feel like work. I just love it,” Melzer said. “I don’t care if it’s all day long and if it’s exhausting, if I’m freezing, I just love it. It feels right for me.”
Melzer grew up near Cologne, Germany knowing early on that he felt like a boy. “Since I was little I looked up to cover models, like being on Men’s Health or GQ, like really masculine men with good bodies, good physiques.” Yet he also felt like the ideal those men represented were out of reach for him, until he started medical transition at 24. Through hard work at the gym, found his own body resembling those men. And eventually, he started doing some amateur modeling.
“The first time I was in front of a camera that gave me the feeling of, this is where you belong, this is what you’re born for, and this is what you need to do.”
So when he heard that Aydian Dowling was a finalist for the Men’s Health cover contest in the United States last year, he decided to enter the same contest in Germany. He won an online audience vote to be one of the guys considered for the cover, and went on to a final casting where he got to meet 19 other guys who were up for the same gig. Eventually, he was chosen to be one of five guys to be on the cover of the magazine’s collector’s edition.
Melzer expressed a lot of satisfaction about being shown as just one among a group of guys. “That’s what I want [being trans] to be, just normal. We don’t have a choice, and it just is the way it is, and we can make the best of it,” he said.
Growing up in a family that didn’t force him to dress in a feminine way allowed Melzer to come to terms with being trans without a lot of turmoil. He was able to present himself as masculine in school, and ended up dating a woman he knew from college, after they met up five years ago, a month after his first T shot.
“But for her, I always looked and acted like a boy,” Melzer said. “It was just the body. And I was on my way to fix that.” His girlfriend, who identifies as straight and had only dated cisgender men before Melzer, told him that he didn’t have to go through the whole process and get bottom surgery, but it was Melzer’s choice to proceed. It’s an operation that the German government requires health insurance companies to cover.
Having transitioned to have a face and body that few people would be able to distinguish from cisgender men, Melzer remains open about being transgender, both in his career and with people he encounters in his day-to-day life. “There’s a trainer at the gym, a coach. We see each other when I’m at the gym, and she’s always talking to me, we’re good with each other. She’s like, ‘Hey what happened to your arm?’” Melzer has a large rectangular scar on his forearm from where skin was grafted for his surgery. “Sometimes I say ‘None of your business’ but this time I was so me, I really wanted to tell her. So I did, and her reaction was, ‘What? Really? Are you kidding me?’ And she’s so interested in it, and she’s so curious, and now she’s proud to know me.”
At the same time, Melzer is also aware that not everyone has the privilege of being able to choose when to come out to people as trans, or a body that’s celebrated in men’s magazines. “Not everybody has to look like me,” he said. “I think we all have beauty inside. That’s what counts at the end of the day.” Melzer also tries to motivate and give tips to other trans men through his social media channels.
“A lot of people say, you’re my hero, I look up to you, but at the end of the day you have to look in the mirror because the hero’s standing right in front of you,” he said.
Melzer’s goal is to be a full-time male model, and he has one specific fantasy job in mind. “My life goal would be to appear in a Calvin Klein commercial, not wearing anything but boxer shorts or briefs,” he said. Melzer got closer to that goal on his trip to New York, where he was shot by celebrity photographer Mark Saliger for an upcoming project. “He’s had almost everybody in front of his camera. I mean Charlize Theron, she’s one of the most beautiful women in the world. Brad Pitt, I love Brad Pitt. I wanna be Brad Pitt!”
“I feel so grateful,” Melzer concluded, “and I hope that I can open doors for other trans guys who would love to work in the modeling business.”
Meredith Talusan is an LGBT Staff Writer for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Meredith Talusan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jared Harrell is a Photo Editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Jared Harrell at email@example.com.