Boinkie's Blog


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Philippine notes

Spirit daily prophecies forecasts inflation...
Uh, I lived through Carter's administration, when my savings lost half their value, and I don't think such a forecast is supernatural.

As for the Pinay nun telling the rich to spread around the wealth: That's part of the problem here...they steal everything then openly donate to the poor (to get votes of course). If they'd stop stealing, business would boom and there'd be a lot less poor people. So tell them to stop stealing for lent.

Real bad news: First the floods ruined the main rice season, and now we are worrying that we'll run out of water for the second rice season.
Yes, we use a pump, but if the ground water falls too far it goes dry.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Stuff for lent

It's not my thing, but some Jesuits are blogging the Ignatian approach to spirituality HERE.

Or if you prefer, try Pray as you Go.

More traditional prayers (mostly psalms) at the Divine Office website, which has mp3's

Universalis, has the daily prayers on line, but uses the Jerusalem bible translation...including downloads for your palmpocket (for a fee) and Kindle.

nice to know folks living 2500 years ago had the same problems as you did...

for old fashioned Catholics, the Anchoress has the rosary as a podcast.

What is "prayer"? lifting one's heart and mind to God.

That last part is important, since saying prayers (e.g. psalms, the rosary) or using the prayer of quiet (AKA Centering prayer) can both lift your mind and heart to God, but muttering meaningless words to manipulate God to give you goodies, or meditation (aka the centering prayer technique) that is used to lower blood pressure is not quite the same thing....

As for "belief", this means will, not emotion.
One "trendier than thou" nun told me she "only prayed when she felt like it", to which I replied: well, if I only prayed when I felt like it, I'd never pray at all. You don't pray for an emotional high, you pray because you seek something or someone higher than oneself.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

A small factoid on StrategyPage:

the last decade has produced, for the first time, a large number of female combat veterans. There are nearly a quarter million of them, including over 5,000 receiving disability benefits (for injuries received in combat, or non-combat, operations).

Until recently, the "official" story was that woman were not allowed to serve in combat units.

This usually translated as no women in combat, but the dirty little secret is that, when nurses arrived in VietNam, they were told that the enemy did not recognize non combat units or red crosses, and they were instructed on how to use weapons in case their hospitals or clinics were over run or attacked.

Similarly, there were nurses at Bataan who were evacuated before the surrender to the Japanese in 1942.So women's veterans are not new.

What is new is that war has changed.In the "olden days", there was a difference between military and civilians, and a difference between non combat units and combat units.

For all the talk of the "Geneva conventions", and warnings that if the US did not follow the Geneva conventions, then the enemy would not follow them either, ignores the dirty little secret: that in the wars of the last 70 years, including World War II, America's enemies did not follow the rules.

I really shouldn't say "America's enemies" since those who didn't follow the rules included various liberation armies supported by the left who caused havoc and murder in South America, the Philippines, SouthEast Asia, and Africa, and of course, the governments fighting these "liberators" usually didn't follow the rules either.... Been there, done that (or rather, I got out before murders of civilians and nurses started).

Civilians also suffer from PTSS.But now, US women are integrated into units in actual war zones, and are receiving little recognition for their service.One waits for the anti war folks to discover the fact, and start printing "ain't it awful" articles to promote their one sided agenda, which would remove the last restraint from some very nasty enemies of civilization.

Been there, seen that too.

On the other hand, injuries and post traumatic stress syndrome is a major concern in the military and VA medical systems; and as StrategyPage notes, this may take some reorienting for those who work in these systems:

Many VA medical personnel have been treating an exclusively male clientele for so long, that they are at a loss when confronted with female patients. Civilian medical personnel quickly learn to switch gears, but many VA personnel haven't a clue. This is harder on the female patients than it is on the VA staff.Politicians have discovered the problem, but all they can do is pass more laws.The real solution will have to come from the VA, a huge institution which is slow to change and adapt.

Having worked with a Federal system, I am very aware of the sluggishness of the Federal medical systems to adapt. I hear my old IHS clinic finally got their extra examining rooms and nurse practitioner, plans that I was told were being implemented when I arrived there in 2001. The VA is even worse, and the delay between application and being hired is so long most of us ended up being hired elsewhere.

However, if they started recruiting from those who worked in the IHS or community health clinics among the poor, you would find those with extensive experience with psychosocial problems, who are more used to integrate psychological and physical treatment in their patients.

And since many of these personnel are under the commissioned corps of the PHS, they could be "ordered" to fill in the gaps.

But without some political pressure to insure funding and (more important) implementation of such programs, I am not optimistic that they will be implemented soon.-


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She writes on medical matters at Hey Doc Xanga Blog.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


TheFountainOfElias Blog has a photo of the house of St Bernadette of Lourdes...

" In St. Bernadette's time it was described thus:
The room was dark ... In the backyard was the privy which overflowed and made the place stink. We kept the dung–heap there ... The Soubirous were destitute: two poor beds, one on the right as you entered, and the other on the same side nearer to the fireplace ... They had only a little trunk to put all their linen in ... My wife lent them some chemises: they were full of vermin ... She often gave them a bit of bread made of millet. Yet the little ones never asked for anything. They would rather have starved. ~André Sajous, owner of Cachot, 1875

Sigh. I guess I've worked with too many poor people, because I am not shocked at all.

Yes, outdoor privy...but even in the US, many poor sections of town had them until the 1940's...yes, cold and damp, but so were most homes until central heating became common.

One room with two beds and a fireplace...uh, they had beds?

Compare and contrast with where I worked in Africa, where there was a fire in the center of the hut and mats on the floor to sleep on. Heck, a lot of poor Filipinos still sleep on mats, where the floor is raised to keep dry (and has slats on the floor so dirt can drop under the house) and if they live in slums, they might have a house of cardboard and tin, not to mention the folks living beneath the underpasses.

Poverty is relative you know. Bernadette's family was middle class until they lost their business, so had to rely on charity from relatives and odd jobs for her father to live.

But because they were proud, and because they had family, they weren't homeless refugees in the slums of Paris where the girls were pressed into prostitution so the family could eat.


I know: I'm rich. But I'm just pointing out these things, because although I'm rich, I did work with those less rich.

Which brings us to poverty.

Once I went to a retreat sponsored by an order of hermits who had a charism of hospitality (e.g. retreats). But when I visited the main house (for visitors), it had thick rugs. It made me literally sick, knowing the price of such rugs.

Yes, the hermits lived on the grounds of the house, and the house, a mansion no one had wanted and one that had been neglected before being sold for a pittance, had been refurbished by the hermits and the local Catholics.

But still: the hermitage was a jewel in the midst of a nice neighborhood. A wonderful place to visit to see beauty and refresh one's soul.


Nearly every convent/ monastery etc. similarly is well built. Most don't have the opulent furniture for guests, but they are well built and sturdy.

And, alas, many are now being sold elsewhere because there are no vocations.

Is there a link?

When we visited Italy, we saw where Clare and her sisters lived. Still standing after all these years, and still a lousy and poor place to live. In contrast, we visited the Poor Clare monastery, again well built and beautiful, where her relics were kept. Again, the sisters made a living renting rooms to pilgrims (and hid Jews during the war) but still, they lived in a well built house.

Compare and contrast with the cheap housing of the average American, and you see what I'm getting at. Maybe in the past, well built was the only way to build, but to build that way now costs a fortune...and these people have a vow of poverty.

And this doesn't count all those modern nuns who live in apartments on their own and "do their own thing" which no lay Catholic can figure out what exactly they are doing, except maybe teaching our kids leftism in catechism class...

So, tell me: Where are the nuns and monks living in mobile homes? or bamboo houses? Or who buy an old house in a slum and turn it back from apartments into a house with many rooms?

I am reminded of the story of some Poor Clares in Africa who went begging, and many people thought it was absurd since they lived on a much better level than many of the locals.

Now, I should point out that most of the nuns are doing a good job, and often come from middle class families (one African nun was sent as a missionary to another country, and was horrified to find a house without beds, electricity or plumbing, all of which she had grown up with).

So aside from Mother Teresa, how many nuns and monks actually live the vow of poverty?

As I sit here in my luxourious air conditioned room, I wonder...

Again, well