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Be Thankful When Nothing Happens

The Philippines is a tropical country, as you know, so if you come here and build magnificent houses, expect some amount of termite infestation.

Just call the termite police. They will eliminate the pest. If in the process of killing, your Chihuahua and Siamese cat go boink boink and lose consciousness and remain solid stiff even if you pour a bucket of ice on them, that's okay. We have a term for this effect here in paradise. 

Collateral damage.

These killings are making me a bit paranoid. It’s like climate change. Although I’m not doing anything wrong to the environment – except buy gasoline, eat meat, and give plastic toys to my kids – I still feel the heat. While writing this article, the temperature in my room is 32 degrees C.

And if the killing continues, and Europe stops buying Philippine products, or imposes high tariff on them, the value of the peso could slide further and affect everything – the cost of chewing gum, pan de sal, and internet connection. And if internet connection becomes expensive, people become less capable of double-checking the information they get.

Adrienne Arsenault, senior correspondent of CBCNews, wrote that while “Filipinos spend more time on social media than anyone else in the world”, most of them get fake news because "Mobile internet coverage in the Philippines is among the slowest and most expensive in Asia. So it's a big commitment to click on a link or watch a video in the name of fact-checking. It can drain precious data fast." (If you have unlimited data access, see http://tinyurl.com/mg877r8.)

This means that if we hold a national election today, we could still be in trouble because our voters lack accurate data. That’s why when someone who supports the drug war asks me “Why are you afraid when you are not doing anything wrong?” I don’t feel relieved at all. The Korean businessman did nothing wrong but he was killed and flushed down the toilet.

***

I was in a barbershop several days ago. There was only one barber. So, when two people came in, they had to wait for their turn. After my haircut, they had to wait longer, because I told the barber to give me a massage. One of the waiting customers asked the obvious: "Magpa massage ka sir para relax?" I said yes.

So, he waited.

A third customer came, wearing a familiar helmet -- one of those things we see on TV when someone is assassinated. So, I thought, now there are three big men waiting and waiting for me to finish a reaaally fantastic massage.

And then the sound system went off.

Brownout.

The customer who had asked me if I was going to have a massage giggled, and remarked: "Maayo na lang nag pa massage ka sir, kay pahak unta akong alut."

He said he's thankful I had a massage or else he would have a bad, patchy haircut.

Moral lesson: Be thankful when nothing happens. 

The Silence of the Chickens

What if someone needs to raise roosters in a residential subdivision, how does one make them quiet so that the neighbors won’t throw stones at his house? Chickens are sources of noise pollution, as we know.

There are four remedies in the internet. The most radical of them comes from an obviously pissed-off guy. He wrote use a shotgun.

Unfortunately, veterinarians and professional cockfighters (sabungeros) oppose this method because roosters are highly allergic to shotgun pellets. The recovery period is extremely long, that is, if one can reassemble the body parts with a sewing needle and nylon strings. My kid once believed anyone could resurrect an animal by subjecting it to bolts of electricity, but we’ve never succeeded. Frankenchicken is a myth.

So, let me present the more practical solutions.

History first so that we don’t have to repeat it:  An old newspaper I found out recently. It’s the Milwaukee Sentinel and the date is April 1, 1926.  That’s not a typo. That number means the publication is 92 years old, so most likely the staff members of that year are already very dead. Also, the articles are meaningless to us in the Philippines: “Woman Asks $4,310 From Father”, “Dr. J.V. Lyman, Physician, Dies in Sanitarium”, and “Potato Party Boosts Idaho”.

Potato party? That’s the same as camote party, so we might be able to make use of it here. But there’s another article in that century-old newspaper that’s specially relevant. The title is “California City Takes Steps to Quiet Roosters”.

The body reads: “Oakland, Calif., March 31 (Universal) – ‘Put your roosters in a light proof coop, or devise apparatus that will hold the rooster’s head down so he can’t crow.’ That was the substance of an order issued today by the city department of public health and safety as a result of scores of complaint by Oakland residents that the beautiful spring mornings are causing roosters to crow at hours too early to allow sleep. The light proof coop, according to inspector Joseph Bivens is too [sic] fool the roosters; if they can’t see the light, they won’t know it’s morning.”

I applied these pieces of advice to a rooster we had in Villa Ernesto a few years ago and one of the methods worked. I first asked a carpenter to make a coop with a roof that could be raised up and down. The roof is made heavy by the placement of a rock. A coop is what we Bisaya call tangkal sa manok.

Then, I shoved the rooster inside and, as expected, it crowed several times. I lowered the roof until the rooster could no longer raise its head.  He was left with only about 6.16 inches of vertical freedom. But he was not discouraged. The blood of his dinosaur ancestors was strong with him. He looked at me in the eye and gave me his loud opinion about my feeble experiment.

Epic failure. The evidence is in my YouTube upload.

But when I covered the coop with a black cloth, he froze, apparently terrified. Years of evolution has taught him that he has to sit still and stay quiet when darkness falls or else he could be noticed by nocturnal predators, such as a cat or a snake. He knew he was completely vulnerable because he was on the ground, not perched on a tree. His sole protection was the cage.  So, he shut up. I won.

He was silent even in the morning. He talked to me only when I removed the black cloth.

I read somewhere that rooster owners in Hawaii used the same black-cover technique to appease their neighbors.

But the best device that I know so far is a modern patented invention called NO CROW Rooster Collars. It’s a band made of synthetic material and Velcro. Invented by Lauren Taylor, you put it around the neck, but not too tight or the rooster might … you know.

Just follow the instruction.  NO CROW works. Absolutely nothing to worry about. The freaking rooster will freak out when he receives the collar. But he will get used to it, and he will still be able to perform all his bodily functions, including passing on his DNA.

 

There are several YouTube videos of this excellent device, uploaded by happy and satisfied rooster owners. But don’t waste your time on the upload by primitivemommy, sorry.

One can improvise, though. Someone told me in an email that he uses a cheap rubber band instead. Well, as long as the rooster doesn’t  become the main ingredient of chicken soup, that option should be fine.

Why am I writing about chickens instead of the popular topics of shabu and EJK? Because people trapped in noise-polluted places are disturbed and could be dysfunctional. So, they seek relief in music, church activity, basketball or mind-altering drugs. Camote party is just not sufficient even if you do it twice a week.

According to the World Health Organization: "Excessive noise seriously harms human health and interferes with people’s daily activities at school, at work, at home and during leisure time. It can disturb sleep, cause cardiovascular and psychophysiological effects, reduce performance and provoke annoyance responses and changes in social behaviour."

Possibly this note also explains the comment of the guy with a shotgun.
 

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