Archive for category Lunacy

Halloween is coming

Salvador Panelo (cropped)with no escape, and tomorrow, Daylight Savings Time ends. Yesterday afternoon, I walked through a sunny Munich with 17 degrees temperature. Was it climate change or was it just the Föhn wind? Föhn also means hair-dryer in German, so you get an idea of what kind of wind the alpine Föhn is. Hair-dryers mean risk of baldness so I avoid them. I can sing, but I am not running for the Senate. Which does not mean Sen-eight, even if the opposition has 8 candidates. And even if the Latin word is derived from senex, meaning old man, and is related to senile, I think Enrile is way too old now.

But he is indeed scary, while Panelo is at least funny, like a dancing skeleton can be truly hilarious. Back to Halloween. A Celtic feast after the harvest. The Celts believed that the spirit world opened during the shift to winter, and offered food to the spirits to propitiate them. The people of the Alps have all their cows in the shed by then, having driven them all down the mountains by October. Some Alpine people have the superstition that the spirit world opens around New Year, starting with Christmas and ending with Three Kings Day, when the good spirits win against the evil.

The Schiachperchten (the ugly spirits, roughly translated) look shaggy and act rough while the Schönperchten (the beautiful spirits, roughly speaking) look shiny. Some of the evil spirits are called Krampuses, some say that Krampus is St. Nicholas’ sidekick who punishes bad children. Could Duterte be the Krampus come to punish bad Filipinos, an ugly spirit from the other world? Will he, pockfaced Calida and skeleton Panelo return to the netherworld when Enrile goes there? Was it simply Filipino karma that after a President named Benigno, a maligno would come to rule?

Shall the cycle come to another turn when the beautiful spirits, led by a beautiful Vice President, drive out the evil ones and end the reign of the Pangit? They already have been partly driven out of Facebook, so they may found a new place called PangitBook if they want. It would not matter at all. The cycles are: good/evil, Yin/Yang, Apollonian/Dionysian, democracy/tyranny, justice/injustice. Tag-araw, tag-ulan are not only the sunny and the rainy season, it is a Filipino movie and a song. Greeks went from Apollonian rationality to Dionysian excess. Filipinos love tragedy and comedy.

Though the recent events in Filipino courts and assemblies are either both or neither, somehow. Inspite of the social media commentary that follows the events like the chorus of a Greek play. Inspite of the philosophers, some bearded and half-Persian, making their comments on matters, this play is not a tragedy equal to Aeschylus’ The Persians. And even if some politicians in it look like frogs, it is not a comedy equal to Aristophanes’ The Frogs. It is reality, even if it is surreal. Possibly though, I am misled. The Philippines could be on the verge of creating new paradigms.

Albayalde says the Philippines may be the first country to win a drug war. With action men like the Tulfos and Robin Padilla, it could be possible! And inspite of the EU now certifying Dengvaxia, how do we know if Persida Acosta was not right? How do we know that the PNP was unjust in killing? And isn’t Calida a genius in redefining basic questions of existence and non-existence? Finally, the Philippines could be at the forefront of a revolution of knowledge, the greatest ever since Socrates. And the infallible, incorrigible Teddy Boy Locsin. But first, Halloween must pass. Trick or treat?

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 27 October 2018

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Red Oktoberfest Horse

Oktoberfest-Kutscherdoesn’t exist, just by itself. There is Red Horse, but that beer may not be served at the Oktoberfest. Only beers brewed in Munich, as tradition dictates. But the Oktoberfest starts in September, why? Because the weather is still somewhat better then is what I know, as long as it ends in October, OK. Or passt scho, as Bavarians say. That’s OK is what it more or less means. No need to look further. Red October, or the October revolution, wasn’t really in October either. It was on October 25, 1917 in Russia and on November 7, 1917 – by the Gregorian calendar which most of Europe was using.

Reds turned Red October into Red November when they chose to switch to Gregorian in 1918. Greeks finally decided to go Gregorian in 1919 – for civil purposes. Christmas and Easter still differ for Russians and Greeks, this I know. Why should Orthodox bishops follow a calendar that was decreed by a Roman Catholic Pope? Gregory XIII, to be exact, way back in 1582, had reformed the Julian calendar, decreed by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. – both being the Pontifex Maximus. These priests defined the calendar in ancient Rome, but sometimes misused that power for politics.

Weder-Weder and Seasons

Even Julius Caesar made the year of his third consulship 446 days long in the year of his reform. Being Pontifex Maximus and Consul was like being President and Supreme Court Chief Justice. Might be an idea for Duterte when CJ Castro retires. But even in Roman times, the additional days to adjust the calendar to the seasons (or political weder-weder) were done after February, like now. Except that February was the last month, and September – October – November – December were really still the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth months, respectively. After Julius and Augustus.

Almost 16 hundred years later, the 365.25 days used to compute leap years every 4 years proved to be slightly inaccurate. Easter got colder and colder. 365.2425 days is inaccurate every 3000+ years. Pretty accurate though for a Catholic Church that still refused to believe Galileo – at least officially. But on the other hand accepted strong beer as a valid substitute for food during the Lenten season. There is the story that Bavarian monks sent beer all the way to Rome and it was no longer fresh when it arrived, so the Vatican approved it. In reality it is almost as strong as Filipino Red Horse.

Per centum

8% alcohol is what I have found for Red Horse, while the Lenten beers of Munich called Salvator, Maximator, Triumphator etc. have around 7.5%. Oktoberfest beer “only” has 6.4% – not inflation, alcohol percentage. Regular beer like Augustiner Helles has 5.2%, which looks like a little less. Unfortunately, whether we talk about alcohol percentage or inflation, small differences are big. Four half liter mugs of Augustiner Helles make you way less drunk than two liters of Augustiner in the Oktoberfest tent of the same name. Lenten Penance is two liters of Maximator – same brewery.

No October Horse is sacrificed to mark the end of the agricultural season during the Oktoberfest. That was in ancient Rome. There are brewery horses pulling carriages with beer barrels on them during the opening ceremony, but most “tents” are huge wooden pavillions nowadays with tanks and pipes for their beer. The Augustiner “tent” does still use 200 liter barrels though, traditionally. And still the Oktoberfest has a lot in common with other harvest and autumn festivals in Bavaria. Entire oxen roasted, with name and weight indicated, are most remiscent of sacrifice in one “tent”.


Someone doubted whether one could roast such a large animal in one piece, wouldn’t it take days? After all, lechon takes around six hours if I remember correctly, turkey or goose like three hours. But I have seen that they cut off meat from the outside going inwards, much like with shawarma. Same with gyros or döner, the Greek and Turkish versions of Lebanese shawarma, respectively. Only Greek gyros is pork though, but ancient Greeks were known to sacrifice bulls etc. to Gods. Ancient Greek comedies made fun of the fact that most of the meat was grilled and eaten by people.

So before gyros, there was souvlaki – or similar. But I don’t think that the Greek attitude to sacrifice was imported to Bavaria by King Otto, first King of modern Greece, a Bavarian prince. The Greeks disliked him. Coach Otto Rehhagel was liked, as he helped the Greeks win the 2002 European Cup. Sometime afterwards the Euro crisis came, and Angela Merkel became a new hate figure in Greece. Somewhat like “Panot” aka President Aquino in the Philippines two years ago – for much less than the sacrifices – human and monetary, not animal – they have to endure today under “Lodi” Duterte.

Red Oktoberfest

never existed either, but there was a “Bavarian Soviet Republic” for a short while in Spring of 1919. The house of Wittelsbach, a truly old political dynasty, ruled Bavaria from 1180 until Nov. 7, 1918, when the Free State of Bavaria was declared. A right-wing nationalistic aristocrat killed its founder, a Social Democrat, on Feb. 21, 1919. The Social Democrats managed to get a government together by March 7, but it was so weak that by April, a Communist Republic was declared by somewhat crazy anarchists. A week later, Communists led by three Russian migrants loyal to Lenin took over.

There is a legacy of beer from that short-lived “republic”: the “Russnmaß” or Russian stein which mixes wheat beer (as opposed to beer from malt and hops) with sweet lemonade. Seems the Russn or “Russians” which the common people called all the Communists liked that sweet and sober mix. Didn’t help much. The democratic government had fled to Bamberg and got help from right-wing volunteer paramilitaries, the Freikorps, while the Communists quickly formed an own “Red Army”. Munich was reconquered by early May, democracy restored but true power was with the Right.

Extremists and democrats

Many of those in the Freikorps later became prominent Nazis (link) though some former members of the “Red Army” became Nazis also. Four years later, Hitler attempted a right-wing coup (link). Extremists from left and right clashed in the streets of the Weimar Republic, weakening democracy. Hitler himself got rid of most of the left wing of his Nazi party in the night of the Long Knives (link) in 1934. Non-extremist, meaning non-violent political parties did not stand a chance in those years, even if two became the major right-wing and left-wing democratic parties of postwar Germany.

Democracy is finally about taming our savage desire to hurt the other side, an agreement to deal with conflicts in a civilized, rule-based manner. Just like rule of law is about taming our desire to take revenge – or to just punish those we dislike for whatever reason. We can be very nasty inside. Especially when hungry. So it is better not to go hunting for Red October Horses to be sacrificed. Better sacrifice pigs, cows or oxen, eat them like Greeks or Bavarians, or the Ifugao during kanyaw. Drink Red Horse or Russian beermix. Lenten beer, yellowish Helles, or Cerveza Negra. Prosper!

Romans, Greeks, Filipinos, Bavarians, Russians. Pigs, cows, horses and oxen. Beer and festivals. Politics and calendars. Revolution and sacrifice. Inflation and drunkenness. Soccer and festivals. Greeks sticking to Roman calendars. Communists adopting Roman Catholic calendars. Bogeymen. Christian Popes adopting the title of a pagan priest of ancient Rome. Lodis. Octo = VIII, not X. Finally, just one horse at the Oktoberfest start carries the mascot of Munich, a young lady in a cape. Which lady will be on the Philippine October horse? Smiling, very short, or sharp-chinned? Who?

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 2 October 2018

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Sipain ang COA

Imee Marcossabi ni Digong. Tama naman siya. Bastos talaga sila. Eh pati sa gastos nila Imee nakikialam. Puwede ba iyon? Mga Marcos ang may-ari ng Ilocos Norte. Katangahan na dilawan iyang audit. Palibhasa ayaw nila na nakawan sila, eh sila ang mang-aapi sa Pilipino mula noon pa, dapat lang. Ubusin ang buwis na binabayaran nila, hanggang sila naman ang maging mahihirap tulad natin. Tayo naman ang magiging mayaman, pahappy-happy. Sila ang magtatrabaho para sa ating lahat. Tulad ng mga mayayabang na doktor na nahuli ni Tulfo sa PGH. Sa bayan na ngayon magsisilbi.

Disentery at plastication

Hindi porke’t nakapag-aral ka puwede mo nang akalain na kung sino ka. Unang-una, mas mataas ang Presidente sa lahat ng may pinag-aralan kahit na halos bumagsak siya. Ibig sabihin nito, bobo ang mga eskwulahan at unibersidad. Tinuturo lang nila ang gumaya sa kaplastikan ng mga dating amo nating mga prayle at Kano, kumilos at magsalita ng disente at educated. Putang ina talaga! Tinuruan tayo maging mga peke. Tapos itinuro ang morals-morals. E kung kailangan talagang patayin ang adik, sagabal lang ang kunsensiya na iyan. Salitang galing Kastila, di sariling atin.

Tapos iyong diskarte na educated kuno? Para lang naman iyan doon sa pelikula ni Leonardo di Caprio, iyong Catch me if you Can. Nakita lang niya sa TV na ang mga doktor, mahilig sa salitang “I concur”. Ginaya niya, tapos lahat akala doktor siya. Mga peke sila sa diyan sa US, kita niyo? Bakit naman ngayon ang aarte pa ng mga eksperto kuno ng DOH, ayaw sumunod sa judgement ni Dra. Persida Acosta? President ang naglagay sa kanya sa puwesto. Sino ba SILA para kumontra? Tanging mga Kano ang nagpasok ng idea ng equality para guluhin tayo, para pasaway na ang lahat.

Sino ba kayo?

Karapat-dapat ba na may katulong na hindi sumusunod sa amo, anak na hindi sumusunod sa magulang, Pilipino na hindi sumusunod sa Presidente? Mga bastos ang mga Pilipino na ganyan, kunyari pa silang nagpupuna lang. Ano ba ang pagpuna kundi gusto mong gawing pasaway lahat? Kaya dapat lang makulong si Trillanes. Ano ba iyang mga batas-batas na laging sinasabi ng dilaw? Noong 1521, walang batas-batas, Konsti-konstitusyon, ang mga taongbayan kay Lapu-Lapu lahat. Ngayon walang laban ang Pilipino dahil ang dilawan, hawak ng foreign power na kalaban natin.

Alam ko iyon dahil sinabi sa amin ng isang foreign power na kaibig-ibigan natin, hawak isla natin. Pero tumahimik na kayo diyan. Hindi naman talaga puwede ang COA makialam kay Imee Marcos. Mataas na pamilya ang mga ito. Hindi tulad ng mga patapon na liberal na pinasok ng mga taga-US. Hindi maaring hindi makakain ng pinakbet ang mga Marcos, kaya pagbigyan na natin sila sa pera. Huwag tayong mainggit sa masuwerte. Mas masama iyong mga ambisyosong matatakaw sa pera na trabaho ng trabaho, gustong baguhin ang kanilang nakatakdang lugar sa lipunan. Mga pampagulo!

Wala sa lugar

Pero halos hindi na nila magagawa iyon dahil wala na ang mga amo nilang Amerikano. Talunan. Kung akala ng mga Ingleserong abogado na may “equal protection clause” at hindi puwedeng si Trillanes lang ang kasuhan, kami naman ito ang sagot: mas naniniwala pa kami kay Santa Claus. Tandaan ninyo ito: babalik ang sambayanan sa kanyang tamang anyo. Bawat tao rito may lugar. Maliban sa mga ayaw tumanggap sa lugar na binigay sa kanila ng mga matataas. Wala talaga silang dapat sisihin dahil sila lang ang mga may ambisyon ni di karapat-dapat, para matahin ang bayan.

Buti pa si Manny Pacquiao, umasenso na walang pa-Harvard-Harvard tulad nitong anak ni Lugaw. Ang pag-asenso, suwerte. Hindi mapipilit iyon. Nakakabuwisit itong mga nagpapakabuting tao na akala mo santo, lalo na kung nakapag-aral at pafact-check-fact-check pa diyan, galing sa Rappler. Ayaw kasi maniwala sa husga ng mga tito at tita. Galing sa pakiramdam ito kaya likas na tama ito. Pautot lang ang mga dinadahi-dahilan pa. Tulad ng mga dahi-dahilan ni Panelo, palusot lang sila. Pero kailangan dahil sobra pang dami nitong mga dilawan: Westernized, moralized, Trillanized..

At kung ayaw ninyong maniwala sa mga tito at tita, maniwala kayo sa mga titi, sa panel discussion. Panel discussion dahil si Panelo ang nakipagdiscuss kay Digong. Kasama nila ang mga banga na puno daw ng asin at suka, para sa mga kakainin ni Digong kung gusto niya. Wala ring bigas doon? Wala po, sabi nila itinatago daw ng mga dilawan. Kinain lahat ni Franklin Drilon. Kawawa tayo! Pero tandaan ninyo, better eat bukbok than read a book. At ito pa: “Ignorance is Blessed”. Hindi uso noong 1521 ang nagmamarunong, kaya nanalo si Lapu-Lapu. Hindi si Trillanes, Magellan pala.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 17. Sept. 2018


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A lunar eclipse

Lunar eclipse blood moon July 2018was just visible in Munich – and earlier in the Philippines also. For more than an hour during which the moon was red due to refraction of sunlight by the Earth’s atmosphere – and the Earth itself blocking the really strong sunlight which is usually reflected from the moon’s surface to us.

Then slowly, a sliver of white light appeared and the time of totality was over. Still a fascinating thing to watch, even in a big city like Munich with it’s artificial light, and in today’s demystified world.

And then I went home, just being careful, lest the reappearing full moon turn me into a werewolf.

Now I ask, did Gloria Arroyo conduct her power grab a bit too early? Or was before today better? Depends on what superstition one believes in. Some say that the full moon in old Filipino culture favored the good and the new moon was the time the aswangs or vampires were out to feed.

Or how about the lunar eclipse story in Amaya, where the woman who is to slay the violent ruler Raja Mangubat is born during a lunar eclipse. Duterte might die before that woman is of age.

Amaya also calls upon the Bakunawa, the sea serpent responsible for lunar eclipses, to eat the malevolent Dian Lamitan, a scheming woman who fooled her father as well as Raja Mangubat. Nothing to do with Grace Poe. Besides, Dian Lamitan is more of a Sandra Cam type than a Gloria. Certainly more of a meal for the Bakunawa than someone the size of Arroyo, or thin as Grace Poe. But basically still like a peanut for us. Why bother? OK, Greek Gods also bother a lot with mortals.

Often, powerful men bring forth alpha females. The Athena principle. Athena was Zeus’ daughter, born out of a headache he had. Sara Duterte seems to be her father’s headache until this very day. But don’t tell me President Diosdado Macapagal was an alpha male. Yet indeed, there was Queen Elizabeth I, who outdid her father Henry VIII by far as a ruler. But Filipinos have no one like her. Probably she would have, had she been raised the Filipino way, sold islands to the Spanish crown. But then again, she was not half-Spanish and Catholic like her half-sister Mary. Quite contrary!

I did meet former Pampanga Vice-Governor Cielo Macapagal-Salgado personally, once in Germany. Seemed nice. But then again, there are so many sisters who differ in character. Think Gang Badoy and Quiche Lorraine. Not that any English king had connections to Alsace-Lorraine, or Strasbourg. Not much news about any UN, EU or others being sworn at. Duterte has not been seen for a while. Mesopotamian kings were hidden during lunar eclipses. Let us ask Mocha about the sacred rituals. Unless the President has already been ritually sacrificed at the Davao Crocodile Farm, no worries.

“’cause it’s only a paper moon, just as phony as it can be” sings Guy Smiley in the Muppet Show, before the paper moon behind the stage falls down, unceremoniously. Larry Roque continues by singing “but it wouldn’t be make believe, if you believed in me!”. Well, why should I? Am I loony?

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 28 July 2018

P.S. the full moon is back now. Time to howl.

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