The Black Death gave life to the Renaissance

28 April 2013 • Sunday • 15:20

[This piece was first published in the Blogs section of the website of GMA Network on December 3, 2009.]

It’s hardly an exaggeration: The Black Death – the bubonic plague that killed from 25 to 40 million people in the 14th century – had a big hand in triggering the cultural revolution that would come to be known as the Renaissance.

I came across this curious information in A History of Knowledge, a well-written book by Charles Van Doren.

The name should ring a bell if you’ve seen Quiz Show, a movie directed by Robert Redford about the rigging of the 1950s quiz show Twenty One.

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A slow news day

28 April 2013 • Sunday • 14:12

[This piece was first published in the Blogs section of the GMA Network website on November 25, 2009.]

Some people think journalists are cops. And I can’t say I blame them because some reporters on the crime beat get confused sometimes as to which side of the police line they’re supposed to be.

Sometimes people would come up to me, on learning what I do for living, and see if I could help get the rusty wheels of justice rolling for their particular predicament, just by writing about it.

Sometimes, they’d have a valid issue, which usually means it’s one that could be of interest to the public.

But sometimes…

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Elegy for nine

26 August 2010 • Thursday • 8:24

Nine people are dead, one of them the ex-cop who pulled the trigger before being shot himself by a former brother in the service.

This not about one nation’s embarrasment and another nation’s outrage, although those are understandable and very real reactions, most of us being accustomed to living in just one country with people of the same race and nationality.

So even in this age of instant global communication, the us-and-them reflex lingers.

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Last stand at the grandstand

24 August 2010 • Tuesday • 8:54

Let’s all spare ourselves the fancy analysis.

Rolando Mendoza, a former police officer, decided to arm himself and take a busload of tourists as hostages.

Why? He claimed to have been a victim of injustice and he wanted that corrected.

How? By doing an injustice to total strangers so that the authorities would hear him out.

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Living feeds writing

9 August 2010 • Monday • 2:58

“You have to live to write.”

The thought struck me in the wee hours yesterday as I was getting ready for bed, tired from grappling with a flaky WordPress site to change the themes of two of my blogs there. Read the rest of this entry »

The Kano

30 November 2009 • Monday • 17:45

Jacques, my Dutch friend, gave me a bit of a distraction, a pleasant one though, over the weekend. Late Saturday afternoon, he dropped by so we could have some vodka – The Bar, orange-flavored – at my landlord’s store out front. Read the rest of this entry »

Tax of no return

28 November 2009 • Saturday • 12:44

I’ve always hated filing my income tax return. Not because I hate paying taxes – the office takes it out of your pay anyway and you’re already taxed right and left whenever you buy anything at all. Read the rest of this entry »