Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pacquiao's Professionalism, Patience and Prayers

The euphoria created by Manny Pacquiao's sensational triumph over the courageous David Diaz, may have concealed a little known peril that the Filipino prizefighter must have sensed, even before he walked into the ring: an ambush that would have robbed him of the title and disappoint the 81 million countrymen he carries on his shoulders each time he lays his life on the line. There may have been attempts to extract a bigger payoff by scoring the bout in favor of the 4 to 1 underdog if the fight went the distance. The official ring physician is from Nevada, the referee also from the same state, as with the 3 judges at ringside. Pacquiao knew he may be walking into a trap, but it was too late to turn back.

It was Pacquiao's professional maturity as a pugilist that overcame whatever threat may have been intentionally laid out against his quest. He was focused and determined to end the fight with no questions nor doubts about its outcome. He followed the strategy zealously, crafted by his handlers after an excellent scouting and study of his opponent. The raging bull, who at times would surge with misdirected flurry of punches when hurt, became a matador who was scientific, methodical, and clinical. He gave the badly outclassed Diaz a painful boxing lesson by executing punches with deadly accuracy, landing 180 power punches that used his opponents' face for pinpoint target practice. The lion in Diaz, a big cat with intense ferocity, lost one life for each stage of the savage 9 round battering.

A closer scrutiny of the actuations of the ring physician in the 4th and 6th rounds gives an uneasy feeling. The swabs used to apply the petroleum jelly to stop bleeding was swallowed by the wound itself, indicating the depth of the injury and the danger it would pose for the fighter. Pacquiao himself slowed down in the 7th, picking his punches patiently and even looking at the wounds he inflicted. He asked the referee if the fight would continue, apparently realizing it should be stopped. But he was dismissed. There may have been hopes that Diaz could get a lucky punch or get away with a headbutt and last the distance, enough to call the fight at least a draw. The referee would be slow in breaking clinches as if giving Diaz the chance to strike. But Pacquiao guarded himself well. His prayers carried him through.

Pacquiao made history with this win. He is the only Asian, only Filipino, and only one of nine boxers to win championships in 4 different weight divisions. It has been a history soaked in blood. To his credit, Diaz kept the tricks away from the main stage, although he managed to pull off an elbow into Pacquiao's face a couple of times. Pacquiao poured it on in the 8th, and finished it off in the 9th with a perfectly timed and positioned left hook to the right face of Diaz on a downward trajectory. The blow sent Diaz head turning in 3 directions before falling like an empty sack to the canvas. Yet, Pacquiao returned to lift him up after the count fearing he may have harmed him too much in the process; before running to his corner to kneel in tearful prayer of thanks for his victory.

The brutality of this sport is enough to consider it unfit for a civilized society; yet the lust for blood while watching two human beings rearrange each other's face, break each other's bones or crack the opponent's skull, and tear up their internal organs, is taken as fun and entertainment. But the worst are those who continue to manipulate results by nonchalantly gambling with the lives of others and expect to profit from it. A vicious portrayal of man's inhumanity to man.


Photos courtesy of Getty Images and Yahoo Sports- AP

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Cigarette-Cannabis Cocktail Challenge

Contrary to accepted notions about the Dutch being enamored with cannabis, it is perhaps the only place in the world where smokers seek the cigarette in marijuana, rather than the marijuana in cigarettes. Traditionally, European and Dutch cannabis users mix the weed with tobacco, a kind of cocktail drawn up by Amsterdam's famed coffee shops; in a cone shaped inhaler called a vaporiser. An apt term for a high.

By July 1 however, the Dutch Government will implement a ban on cigarette smoking in bars, restaurants and coffee shops in compliance with European Union law. It is one of the last countries to implement the ban. But the ban covers only cigarettes, not marijuana. The Netherlands has adopted the position, based on research studies, that there is greater health risk in cigarette smoking than cannabis use. Coffee shops are thus placed in a dilemma of offering cannabis mixed with other herbs rather than tobacco, and they fear the absence of tobacco taste will cause a decline in patronage. This is a downer for the coffee shops.

Cannabis is illegal in the Netherlands, but the Dutch realize that people will smoke these anyway that it would be best to do it orderly. There are no prosecutions for possessing up to 5 grams, and coffee shops are licensed to have up to 500 grams in stock. This odd manner of implementing laws may appear eccentric, but the tolerance policies of the Netherlands is a result of its practice of social liberalism since 1848, when the dominance of liberal thought was enshrined in the country's constitution. Cannabis growers are arrested and prosecuted, since they possess more than the licensed 500 grams. However, the state has authorized an organization, the Cannabis Retailers Union, to obtain and distribute the merchandise legally. Thus, Cannabis planting is criminal, pushing is legal, and smoking is tolerated. This sounds like a bad joke.

There are apprehensions about non-compliance with the law, but closures as a result of violations and consequent revocation of licenses to operate, are expected to make it effective in eliminating nicotine addiction from the marijuana habit. Undoubtedly, a novel way of promoting health among the citizens from the Dutch perspective.

Tourists lament the end of an era and woefully express that "a little bit of Amsterdam will die". That "little bit" statement speaks a great truth. In making the Dutch healthier by nicotine reduction or elimination, pure cannabis intake will instead make them brain dead.


Friday, June 27, 2008

The Financial Fiefdom of the Future

Arguably the most modern metropolis being built in the world, Dubai has the distinction of being referred to as the "City of the Future". The bold initiatives undertaken by the United Arab Emirates cannot merely be regarded as a fancy for modern structures nor a penchant for expensive technological wizardry, but a predetermined vision and a calculated objective that will raise the former Bedouin tribes of the Arabian desert to the top of the global economy's center of power. The City's pace of development and base of business is positioned to wrest the dominance and influence from New York City as the financial capital of the world.

Its recent unveiling of a Dynamic Architecture concept has attracted attention and interest all over the globe, where the biggest and most profitable companies on the planet can be enticed to relocate. If the concept is successfully executed, it will herald Dubai's technological leadership in construction, the forceful driving force behind economic growth. It will also make the city the first established site where modern construction technology was applied, obtained from a Florence based architect, David Fisher; ironically, the same place where the Renaissance originated which benefited the west, but now supports the Middle East.

The "future of architecture" is being built in the city of the future. The brick-on-brick method used for 4,000 years will be obsolete, and this pre-fabricated, independently rotating-floors edifice of 80 stories, will have environmentally cleaner methods that use a third of the manpower for these types of buildings; and will produce more than its required energy from an alternative source. This structure, and others like it that would follow after its completion in 2010, will make New York City look "Old World". Museums, sports arenas, cultural venues, transportation and communications, can all be built in a planned city that was in the drawing boards since the late 70's. With its flooding subways, bursting sewer pipes, decrepit buildings and bridges, that need several years and billions of dollars to put in shape for current use, New York would seem third world in comparison to Dubai, which has engineered the city for a vision 50 years hence.

Apart from the physical appearance of modernity and old world charm, the success of the Emirates in shifting the global base of trade and commerce to Dubai would have far reaching political and economic implications. Those holding the purse hold the power, and the shift in economic power from New York to Dubai will mean a transfer of power from the Jews to the Arabs. Policies regarding the State of Israel and the State of Palestine would be impacted severely. Interest rates will be higher for the US and business growth and development would be affected. Political divisions in America may grow deeper and wider owing to the Israeli concerns, and governance may be more difficult than it already is.

As the world looks in awe at the Dynamic Architecture concept in Dubai, it should also critically examine the seemimgly isolated and independent moves being created and initiated all over the world that is concerned with Middle East relations, Policies on the Gaza Strip, Global Investments, Foreign Debts, Military Deployment and Weapons Development, Global Trade and Commerce Agreements, Currency Movements, Technological Development and Applications, Genetically Modified Organisms in Food, Pharmaceutical Drugs, Disease Prevention, among others. All these areas and more, and what is currently started in each, will play a significant role in balancing or preventing this shift in power. If conflict arises, these will be used in ways unrelated to anything humanitarian, as history has proven.

Before mankind even blinks after a first glance at this marvelous structure, it should look behind itself, and guard its rear at any man-made catastrophe that may be engendered by those who cannot accept that power has changed hands.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Arte y Pico Award Acceptance and Acknowledgement

This award was bestowed upon me by Caroline Parsons of I am grateful and honored for being considered deserving of this citation even if I am not an artist. Caroline's blog is one of those art sites that evoke nostalgia for things past, and reminds me of periods in time when life was simple, truth was constant, and innocence was respected and appreciated. She expresses these in her art through water color paintings, a difficult material to control which she has accomplished remarkably well. Thanks Caroline for bringing back those reflections of simple joys that provide visions of an alternative way of living.

The originator of the award has required that recipients accept and acknowledge the award, and nominate 5 other sites he or she believes meet the criteria established for the purpose. There are many that come to mind and choosing 5 can be formidable. Some are well established sites that I have linked to and visit regularly, while others are those that impressed me of late which I found through Entrecard.

The rules governing the Award recipients involve the following:

1. Recipients must pick 5 blogs they consider deserving of this award for creativity, design, interesting material, and for contributing to the blogging community in whatever language.

2. Each of the 5 selected blogs must include the name of the author and a link to his/her site to be visited by readers.

3. The recipient must show the award and indicate the name and link to the blog of the one that handed it to him/her.

4. All Award recipients must include a link to the Arte y Pico site to inform all readers about the origin of this award.

Here Are the 5 Sites I Have Selected

a) Kim Barker of - Kim is one of the most accomplished artists I've seen whose creations continue to awe and inspire. Her work projects what good remains and what splendor there still is in a world that's constantly battered by calamity and misery. I am not certain if she has received this award in the past, but she certainly deserves a second one.

b) Digital Polaroids of - a young and talented photographer from Argentina whose subject selections are distinctive, and at times, uncanny. Her photographs look like still life paintings executed by famous painters, and masterfully detailed by light angles that create shades of emotion.

c) Lotus Flower of - a gracious and kind hearted woman who churns out a variety of meal concoctions from the exquisite to the simple, and from gourmet to the daily dose of healthy eating; with lots of instructions and history of the ingredient or the preparation to boot. It's learning by eating that's explained in a patient, light and pleasant manner that opens a window to the person's generosity and creative spirit.

d) Jena Isle of - a site I found recently through Entrecard whose author is a prolific story teller and a very good writer. Her site hosts 6 chapters of a story about a period in Philippine Political History (Martial Law), that was brutal and cruel in its execution, especially to the indigenous peoples. Her gripping tale is of love and war, and the cultures that clash in a period of change. It is written in crisp and suspensful style that sustains a high level of interest, and is very faithful to the historical reality that transpired at the time.

e) Sherxr, Ur Resident Chef of - An Asian from Singapore who ventured into Europe, worked for a Restaurant in England, now settled in Croatia and married to a Croatian. Her dessert creations are works of art, and her musings about life away from friends, family, and a world different from where she originated are poignant, funny, and entertaining. Sher is another adventurous young woman with a strong character and a clear perspective, yet retaining her Asian values and great sense of humor.

I know these sites will give you as much pleasure to visit and read as I have.

A Rotting Road Rage

Aside from having had too much to drink, never drive when you're upset, it could make you smell bad.

Roger Davis (not his real name) drove to a Co-op supermarket in Lisburn Road Belfast, to return a bundle of rotten fish he had purchased earlier. His wife berated him endlessly and pushed him to return the items, nagging him about the high cost of food and the depletion of the household budget for a useless product. Unable to argue against his wife's wishes, he stormed from his home and drove several miles back to where he made the rotten purchase. Along the way he stopped by for gas and was aghast at the pump price he had to pay for filling up his 30,000 pound Toyota Lexus SUV. The drive to and from the supermarket with the fetid fish in his air-conditioned vehicle, coupled with the nagging and painful words of his wife, plus the price of gasoline, must have stressed him so much that it upset his stomach.

Upon reaching the store, he demanded a refund. However, he was told to wait as the store manager would have to be informed. After a few minutes, his stomach acted up and he sought directions to the comfort rooms. There was a long line ahead of him, and he needed to keep moving to hold it in place. Two men squeaked past him as a result. He was fuming, but decided to return to the counter. When he was asked for the receipt as proof of purchase, he could not locate it. The store manager refused to accept the returned items and shoved it back to him. He raged like a mad man and burst out of the store and into his car. As he drove off, he shifted the gear into drive rather than reverse, thereby crashing on top of a 17,000 dollar Toyota Celica, and a 45,000 pound Porsche; injuring the Porsche driver in the process. Both cars were expensively damaged. He will have to pay through his nose.

The moral of this story is: a) Smell anything you buy to ensure it's not rotten; b) If on the way home the odor has changed, throw it away and never tell your wife about the intended surprise; c) If your wife berates you for buying stinking fish, think how lucky you are that she didn't force you to eat it; d) If you feel bad about your wife's nagging, be thankful she married you despite being so dumb as to buy rotting fish; e) never leave the house without using the toilet; f) don't use a lexus for a toilet, wait in line instead.

A BBC reporter tried to talk to him, but he replied that he was in no mood for an interview. How could he? He was smelling worse than the rotten fish!


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Making a Memorable Mark on the Moon

What was once a childhood fantasy of exploring the moon as the comic book heroes did, and being referred to as a pioneering lunar explorer, is now possible. Well, sort of, technically. But the idea of having your name included in a database and placed on a microchip, integrated in NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (or LRO spacecraft) that will orbit the moon for many years to come, is close as one can get. NASA has been sending invitations to enlist one million names for this database for people of all ages all over the world, and the deadline is this Friday, June 27th!!!

Everyone who sends their name will be part of the next wave of lunar explorers. Those who would like to participate can submit their information to The LRO mission is the first step in NASA's plans to return humans to the moon by 2020, and your name will get there first. You can also print a certificate to confirm your participation. That's essentially a way of immortalizing your name and making a mark on the moon, even if you never set foot in it.

The Orbiter is made up of six instruments and one technology demonstration, tasked to provide the most comprehensive data set ever returned from the moon. The mission will concentrate on selecting safe landing sites and identification of lunar resources. It will also study how the lunar radiation environment would impact on humans. Those who join the Send Your Name To the Moon project need not worry about being asked to volunteer for the radiation experiment. They may use monkeys for that purpose, unless one qualifies to have the brain size and aptitude of a chimp, then that's a different story.

Join now. You have less than 2 days to enter your name. See you there!


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Frank's Fatal Fury

Was it fate that carried a 24,000 ton ship handicapped by engine malfunction, to clash with a 120 mph typhoon aided by walls of waves and enveloping darkness, in a contest so lopsided and an outcome so predictable? Or was there criminal neglect? The hapless ship was lashed by powerful winds on its left side, then slammed by giant waves from the right, causing the vessel to sway uncontrollably in any direction the wind or the waves would lead it. It no longer had command of its journey, and it had meekly conceded its destiny. It ceased to protect its passengers beneath and left them at the mercy of the fates.

Inside, 800 passengers and crew members wrapped in fear and panic, screamed in horror as they stampeded toward the exits leading to the deck. About a hundred were able to jump or be thrown overboard by the combined forces of nature. The ship keeled over within 15 minutes, it was over for the MV Princess of the Stars. But not for the estimated 700 passengers trapped inside the overturned vessel. After more than 15 horrifying minutes of grappling with terror, hysteria, and insanity amidst chaos and confusion, they have to contend with seeing their loved ones, some their entire families, die slowly from drowning. The pain of this vision and their helplessness at preventing it, is the last image they see as they gasp for their last breath of life. This pain is etched permanently on their lifeless faces as they are retrieved from underneath their temporary tombs.

Typhoon Frank ( International code: Fengshen) was plotted by the Philippines weather administration(PAGASA) to move northward as other's did, and it gave warnings about the impact on areas affected. But the typhoon was so erratic it veered west, cutting through several provinces and inducing damages running into millions of dollars, before going northward. This path placed it on a collision course with the MV Princess of the Stars. The Coast Guard allowed the ship to leave because the path plotted was not in the typhoons forecast direction, and its size and tonnage can take a signal # 1 impact capably. The vessel owners have released the inspection certificates and safety standards documentation that were issued by the government, to show compliance with all safety requirements of the ship.

PAGASA cannot be faulted for the erratic behavior which it also warned the public about; the Coast Guard cannot be faulted for letting the ship sail based on the weather conditions, path, and ship's size; and the ship owners cannot be faulted for using decrepit vessels for commercial purposes. It seems only the passengers were at fault, for insisting to sail on that fateful day. For a country that experiences an average of 20 typhoons a year and a long history of shipping disasters, it has mastered the art of dealing with rescue and relief operations for flooded areas, as well as the angry soundbytes and saber rattling statements from politicians about deaths at sea.

Passengers who patronize inter-island vessels belong to the poorer inhabitants of the country's provinces. The greedy rich who own these vessels do not dare ride on these ships, but they will offer sympathy and a measly $5,500 dollars to the families of those who perished. It is not even on a per individual death, but a fixed amount to the family of those who lost entire families. The media will continue to air grievances of victims' relatives for as long as viewership is high and newspaper sales rise; politicians will speak with anger against those in control and grieve with the relatives, to generate name recall and gather votes - while getting "donations" from the shipping companies for their campaigns; the rich and powerful will continue to provide "services" to the poor using the minimum safety standards and requirements they themselves dictated to the concerned government agencies.

It may be true that this tragedy did not have the hand of criminal neglect splashed all over its pages. But it cannot erase the doubt in the minds of the relatives about the connivance for cover ups that were so blatant in past incidents - whose investigations and coverage diminished in intensity as public interest waned - leaving the poor to negotiate for meager benefits. In the end, it is always the marginalized who are marginalized further, decimated in huge numbers by the greedy rich who live on their sweat, and by the politicians who benefit from these scams.

Or perhaps it is their method of giving gratitude, by sending them to their deaths to end their agony and miserable lives.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Senior Suicide Surge in Japan

Japan has the fastest ageing population in the world, and their culture has given the country one of the world's highest suicide rates. In 2007, senior citizens aged 60 years old and over chose to take their own lives and die with honor, rather than to live a life in penury and shame. The retired citizens are depressed, ill and in debt; yet have no desire to be a burden to the state nor to their kin, knowing the high cost of health insurance and the enormous dislocation their family will go through to care for them in their old age.

A total of 12,107 elderly people committed suicide last year, 9% over 2006, and accounting for 40% of total suicides in the country. In a nation where life expectancy for men is 78 years and for women at 85 years old, having to live 10 to 20 years as a dependent could be too much for their long held principles and beliefs. It would be a painful existence wrought with shame where suicide would be swift and honorable.

The Japanese government created measures to provide more workplace counselling to the retiring employees to stem depression, and even blocked websites that offer suicide tips. It also encouraged companies to employ the elderly, to provide them with additional income and a sense of worth and value as a contributor to household income and the national economy. But the efforts have yet to take root as the recent months saw a rash of suicides from those who look beyond their productive life into their more sedentary stages. A recent scandal involving millions of lost pension funds aggravated concerns about social security capabilities of the state.

Japan has a long tradition of honoring the elderly. The practice of the eldest son or the wife of the eldest son caring for the elderly people runs very deep into the Japanese culture. But traditions are changing. Today, the number of people living in a nursing home or welfare facility for the aged is increasing, with the cost shared between the old person, the family, and the state. And those retirees, whose entire lives were formed by the traditions and beliefs handed down by the elders of their time, and who clung to these ideas certain that they will be equally cared for, may be finding it painful to force themselves to accept the changing family structures and values of their younger kin.

One can only imagine the overpowering loneliness and sense of isolation of those senior citizens who feel abandoned and uncared for. And yet, having to express satisfaction at being happy and comfortable in a facility to avoid worrying or disappointing their children when regular visits are due, adds stress to their already stretched emotions. Returning to isolation until the next visit elicits a profound emptiness, since the just concluded goodbye was not even enough to satisfy the hunger for warmth and affection so eagerly sought.

The ageing population of Japan comes with social and economic problems in the short and long term horizons, and solutions are slow in coming. Immigration as an option is a sensitive issue that would need a lot of serious consideration for a race conservative society. But the speed at which the problem grows and its impact on those affected has allowed the senior citizens to implement their own solutions. Solutions that do not provide a good image of Japan as a humane society.


Friday, June 20, 2008

McCain's Mountain is a Molehill

Apart from exposing how out of touch he is with the current voter's pulse, presumptive GOP Presidential Nominee John McCain also gave an indication of the relatively meager campaign funds he has at his disposal. An indication of inadequate support or interest for his own quest. By creating an image of his opponent going back on his word about accepting public financing, he portrays Barack Obama as a flip flopper, and suggests that he can't be trusted. Clearly, it's an attack that flopped.

It's a non-issue among voters who have gone out in support of the Democrat nominee since the primaries, raising a total of $265 million in small donations to McCain's $97 million. The publicly financed campaign would grant taxpayer's money to each candidate up to a little over $80 million, but Obama's camp believes it will limit their capability to counter special interest groups from smearing and attacking their candidate through "independent political advocacy groups"; who purchase issue ads independent of presidential campaigns - the so-called 527Groups. These groups spend millions of dollars in unlimited donations, which the Obama camp charged as being allowed by McCain to go on unchecked.

The 527 groups operate under Section 527 of the IRS tax code. These are organizations operated by interest groups and used to raise money to spend on issue advocacy and voter mobilization outside of the restrictions on Presidential Action Committees. Since these groups do not make expenditures to advocate the election or defeat of any candidate, they avoid regulation by the Federal Election Commission. However, the line between issue advocacy and candidate advocacy is the source of heated debate and litigation. Creating issues that favor one candidate , or those that demean another, is readily accomplished through such groups. The FEC ruled in 2004 that the law does not cover 527 groups, but it has fined several groups in 2006 and 2007 for direct advocacy for particular candidates - only after the damage has been done.

By agreeing to use public financing, Obama believes he will be at the mercy of the 527 groups supportive of the GOP. They also cited the Republican Party's and McCain's acceptance of lobbyist money, to illustrate the credibility of the person and entities casting doubt on their trustworthiness. Obama said that the public finance system is broken, and run by people who have become masters at gaming this broken system. He urged his supporters to declare their independence from it. The Obama camp believes that they have more than realized the objective of public financing, by setting up a system that raised awesome amounts from small donations over the internet.

By opting out of the system, Obama has evaded a trap to limit his campaign spending and to refrain from using all donations received directly from supporters. By using the small donations, he encourages involvement and commitment to his campaign. McCain's attempt to limit Obama while allowing 527 groups to proliferate ( since republicans do have deeper pockets) failed, and it gave Obama an opening to hint at McCain's hypocrisy since the system favors the GOP. In addition, McCain's push to discredit Obama's trustworthiness crashed coming as it does from someone who has lobbyist skeletons in his closet.

Unless Senator McCain moves out of the molehills he is wasting his efforts on, he will never dig himself out of the hole he's in - a lackluster campaign that generates no commanding presence, stymied by meager funds, a tired image, unfocused direction, and unresponsive to voter's current issues and concerns.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bigoted Button Banned

Campaign buttons being sold at a Republican Convention in Texas contained the message: "If Obama is President, will we still call it the White House?". The Texas GOP moved quickly to remove the buttons and ban the vendor for what it considered the marketing of a racist message. The head of the State's Republican Party said they will "neither tolerate nor profit from bigotry." Officials announced that the $1,500 fee paid by the vendor to sell at the state convention will be donated to the Midwest flood victims.

Jonathan Alcox, the maker of the buttons, said it was just a joke and he was trying to be funny. He added that he based the button on a political cartoon. No mention was made as to how long he had been selling at the convention, nor how many items he has sold. Also, it was not clear if these were the only racist merchandise he made available for selling.

The Texas GOP did well in acting swiftly against this poll provider. The insensitive attitude manifested by such individuals on an already highly charged campaign, that is skewing towards a divisive and bitterly racist contest; must not be allowed to further fan the flames of hatred that could lead to violence. There is no doubt that some segments will cast aspersions on the actions taken by the State's GOP - that it's a facade to show how much integrity they have, or that they are not racist; others will say that it's a trick that would allow the buttons to reappear at a later date and the GOP can deny any involvement in it. That's how much trust each of the parties have on the integrity of one another.

The situation is so volatile that the independent act of one individual can be linked with a party, and accusations would be exchanged without basis. Yet upon his expulsion, Mr. Cox said he was really an independent who will vote Democrat in the coming elections. Perhaps this is to ingratiate himself with the other side after being kicked out of the GOP. This is the mindset of the profiteer, who has no compunctions about the harm they do nor its impact on others, as long as they make money. It is people like these who should be candidates for reeducation, prior to rejoining the human race. This lack of sensitivity is ignorance of the highest caliber.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Gesture of Goodwill for Gays

Homosexual relationships and same sex unions were accepted arrangements that predate Christianity, but this social attraction was criminalized when Christianity became the dominant religion that consequently influenced governance. It's teachings viewed this union as abnormal and a crime against nature, and contrary to the purpose of marriage - the procreation and education of children. The belief that Sodom and Gomorrah was God's wrath against this practice is a misconception, since the context of the story was centered against cruelty and lack of compassion.

Advanced societies tolerated the existence of homosexuals on the surface, but discrimination against them in whatever form was accessible, and in whatever manner was deemed to substantially eradicate them, existed. The sexual revolution that emerged in the 60's gave rise to the Gay Liberation movement of the 1970's. It advanced the idea that men and women with sexual preferences for their own gender should be recognized and freed from fear and concealment. The "closet queens" as they were referred to, desired freedom to express themselves
as productive members of society and as part of the human race; and be accepted for what nature has bestowed on them.

The Law recognizing Same Sex Marriages completes the struggle for the legalization of these unions as well as all benefits attendant to it, but continued opposition from church and conservative groups affirms the enormous social rejection of this law and the significance and impact of this matrimonial union upon dominant societal norms. However, those who maintain that homosexuality can be acquired face research findings which provide confirmation that when you're gay, you were born with it. Brain scans also show that lesbian women have brain structures as those of straight men; and gay men have brain structures the same as those of straight women. This gives rise to their gender preferences, and also confuses the male - female identity.

Now, as gay couples sign up for their matrimonial rites to finally enjoy wedded bliss, after years of being just partners; perhaps the celebrants should avoid certain norms as a gesture of goodwill. Since there would be confusion in terms of gender, regardless of brain
sizes, maybe the celebrants could refrain from playing the tune "Here Comes the Bride?" It's awfully hard to pinpoint who that could be. This will also remove the bridesmaids; and naturally, there will be no need for a "Best Man". The celebrant should also avoid the words "I now pronounce you man and wife", as this would be quite contradictory. The words " I pronounce this couple, John and Peter (or Mary and Donna) as a married couple" would be more appropriate. The "You may now kiss the bride" is also taboo and may be replaced with "You may now kiss each other".

Those making speeches during wedding receptions should also avoid using the term "gay couple" and change it with "married couple". As to who will drive the car and who will be carried to the threshold, that should be left to the couple to decide.

"Gay" used to mean happy, to inspire mirth or be filled with merriment, until it was overwhelmingly associated with homosexuality and all other aspects of it. Perhaps the meaning was the very reason why they chose the word Gay to describe themselves. With the passing of the law and the enthusiastic response to avail of its emotional and social benefits, the old meaning of gay would be strongly felt and deeply embedded in many gay couples for the rest of their lives, and for as long as their union thrives.