Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Senator Richard Gomez, anyone?

Saw this on inquirer.net: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view_article.php?article_id=46689. So he's running for the Senate, AND he's going to be under the administration ticket.

Wow, this is the same guy who led marches against GMA during the Hello Garci frenzy, now he's extolling the "visions for the country" of a president he was once campaining to be ousted. Well, come to think of it he was never consistent. This is the same self-proclaimed health buff/youth role model who peddles cigarettes on TV.

He should just go back to playing fencing-- maybe he'll get another modelling gig that way.

from altar cloth to g-string

Check out this story from BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6312429.stm

Interesting to see how markets are changing with the times. This actually illustrates that demand drives supply (take that, J.B. Say).

Traditional Koniakow lace products include tabletops, altar coverings, pillow cases, and blouses. Given the labour intensity (they make their lace by crocheting) and the surface area of these products, we could expect these products to be relatively expensive and would be relegated to the category of luxury items. So to make their products more accessible to people other than the bourgeoisie (and expand their market), they have to create products with smaller surface areas. Most producers of luxury items from Lindt to Zwilling do this-- produce a premium line and a "value" line to capture a broad spectrum of consumers.

The question now facing Koniakow makers is what lace product with low surface areas to produce. Fifty years ago it would've been handkerchiefs or coasters, like what the lace makers in Batangas, Philippines, now sell at souvenir shops. But instead, they chose to make lace thongs, g-strings, and brassieres-- a big depature indeed from altar pieces for the Pope. It's not that the Koniakow lace makers are a more sexually liberated bunch-- the report describes Koniakow, Poland, as a "deeply Catholic village" with at least one maker asking her priest whether it's a sin to make lingerie. I think they came to this decision after studying the present market-- what crochet lace product would have the most chance to sell? The answer-- lingerie, because people like to wear lace when they're feeling frisky. And they were right.
Moral of the story: Demand drives supply, even if the suppliers are hesitant to supply it.
Btw, the above image is from a website selling Koniakow lace: http://koniakow.com/index_en.php. Visit it to see images of, um, their other products.


I drive a car in Manila, and one of the irritants I often encounter are those cars with obnoxious "8" plates with sirens and blinkers to boot. You know what I mean-- those "8" plates that don't care to specify which district the "congressman" is representing. (For everyone's information, an "8" plate should always specify a congressional district; otherwise, it's illegal and presumably the product of bribery and/or the utilisation of connexions.) And then there are those cars (private or low-numbered) with wang-wangs (sirens, in case anyone asks) and convoys pushing their way through traffic. I know there are laws against these things/thugs, but they're never implemented (how can they be, when the perps are more powerful than the arresting officer).

Let's have none of those sirens and escorts for officials, including their similarly abusive offspring, mistresses and other appendages. I have a modest suggestion: SHAME those people who arrogantly carry their weight around. If they are our neighbours or friends, we should tell them that what they're doing is shameful and disgusting. Refuse to associate with them until they change their ways. Shun them and turn your backs in disgust when they pass in front of you. These people should be put in their place, if not legally then socially. If they want to be above eveyone else, then let them stay there alone. Then let's hope that the little "hiya" left in them brings them down.

Monday, January 29, 2007


After googling "Nontrivial Pursuit", I found many other people and users who use the name. Feeling stupid for not googling the name first before setting up my blog, I now issue a disclaimer: This blog is not connected with any of those individuals or organisations, and neither were they the inspiration nor the impetus for starting this blog. So there.

Al Jazeera English

I have been a close follower of international news networks over the past 10 years. BBC and CNN are staples in my media diet. More recently (i.e., 2001+) and much less frequently, Fox News and Deutsche Welle (DW) are also consumed. The newest addition to the list is Al Jazeera English.

After watching so much US media, we get the impression that Al Jazeera is Al Qaeda's mouthpiece, that they slant the news so much that they are promoting hate against the US. I don't know that they broadcast over Al Jazeera Arabic, but I have to say that Al Jazeera English is fairly objective.

Now, before you go postal about my use of the term "objective", let me explain myself. No media outlet can be truly objective; all of them have their biases and prejudices. This cannot be avoided because the editors, writers and anchors are all influenced by their experiences and contexts, no matter how earnestly they try to be objective. The only question is how much they pepper their news with their biases and prejudices.

In my opinion, Al Jazeera is just as anti-US as CNN is pro-US. By "anti" I don't mean antagonistic or adversarial, but rather opposite or other side (as in thesis vs. anti-thesis). Now CNN, while it presents an American viewpoint, is still quite objective in its presentation of the news, and much (much) more ojbective than Fox News (they should broadcast Tears of the Sun as news while they're at it).

In other words, Al Jazeera English is not the firebrand terrorist mouthpiece that Western media portrays its Arabic cousin to be. It is fairly objective and balanced albeit with a non-Western bias. Al Jazeera English is not the "antidote" to Fox News; the former is much too tame for the latter. Fox News' equivalent in the Arab World, in terms of bias and firebrand commentaries, is Al-Manar.

My First Post

This is my first post in my brand new blog. This is my first time in the blogosphere, so please bear with the lack of graphics and unsophisticated design.

As the long blurb below the blog title suggests, this blog is about discussing everything from economics and politics to philosophy and pop culture. It is about ruminations regarding the human experience, a free expression of ideas and opinions.

Why choose the name Nontrivial Pursuit? Obviously, this is a play on the board game Trivial Pursuit where bits of information about everything under (and beyond) the sun is the main currency. Like the game, this blog purports that "no part of man's nature or his institutions must lie outside this blog's regard".

But more than a mere play of words, this blog is really about the pursuit of nontrivial ideas; i.e., ideas and solutions that are not obvious or plain to see. It is about adding to the stock of ideas or seeing old ideas in a new light, not simply repeating those that have been said.

Lofty ideas said, this blog is, bottomline, my blog. It will be my ideas and opinions prominently posted. Well-digested comments are more than welcome; garden-variety polemics and sloganeering will be ignored. I will try to post frequently and regularly, but this is a function of work load (yes, I have a day job).

That is all for now. Goodbye.