Thursday, May 13, 2010

Are we responsible for stolen toilet seats?

As you know, we recently lamented the fact that toilet seats are missing from so many comfort rooms (restrooms) in the Philippines. We asked ourselves, “Why would someone possibly want to take a toilet seat?” We then asked you, our readers, for suggestions of what you might do with a toilet seat, and published a list of creative ideas. Since publishing that list, we have received a few more suggestions. Christopher R. proposed attaching strings to the seat and adding a handle, thus making it a tennis racket, or using one as an old-fashioned stock for criminals. Stephen C. went a step further, saying that his sister has two complete toilets – “thrones” – in her yard that she uses for flower planters.

Looking through old family photos for another reason entirely, we ran across one that led us to think of another use. On the left you can see Steve and his sister Della playing in the bathtub. On the right is a toilet with no seat. Front and center is their sister Paula as a toddler with a toilet seat around her waist. Della is laughing and pointing at Paula, who appears to be using the seat as a hula-hoop.

Now for the bad news. We had intended that our story about the disappearing toilet seats here in the Philippines would be for entertainment purposes only. As we feared, we are now hearing reports of missing toilet seats in certain parts of the United States and other countries all over the world, and the suspected source of the disappearances has been traced to – you got it – this newsletter. So if you have been pilfering toilet seats to use for picture frames, hillbilly horseshoes, or your kids’ hula-hoops, for the sake of your fellow humans, please stop. And whatever you do, please don’t copy Stephen C’s sister and take whole toilets!

Last year while we were in the United States and had access to hi-speed internet we decided to create Facebook accounts. For those of you who are unaware, Facebook is a place for people to connect and share their thoughts. It is a very good way to find ‘lost’ friends and relatives, based upon a number of searches which include the schools you attended. Also, Facebook suggests contacts that you and someone else in your circle of friends have in common. We have had the pleasure of reacquainting ourselves with a number of friends and a few cousins as a result. We do not log onto Facebook often because it requires faster internet than we normally have available.

It seems that when anyone creates something good, someone else has to come along and try to spoil it. One of our sons informs us that Facebook, being one of the most popular websites on the planet, has become a major target of hackers, spammers, and virus spreaders. A number of our readers have received recent emails from Facebook asking them to join, supposedly invited by one of us. It has never been our intention to send out such spam-type notices to our readers. We advise those of you regular Facebookers to be cautious, and to those of you who feel that we are the cause of unintended Facebook spam being sent to your email accounts, we are as much at a loss as to why you received them as you are. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused. We have been seriously contemplating whether or not to stay on Facebook. However, just today Steve received an email from a granddaughter of Capt. Samuel McF. McReynolds, Jr., who was the commanding officer of Battery Hearn at the time of the Japanese invasion in 1942. Her mother (his daughter) had been born on Corregidor during a prior assignment. She found us through Facebook.

The 68th Anniversary ceremony on May 6 was well attended, thanks to the many guests of Sun Cruises who chose to attend. After the presentation of wreaths and opening remarks by CFI Executive Director Artemio Matibag, Steve gave the principal talk, speaking about the significance of the date and his father’s role in it. At the same time, the plane that we mentioned in the previous newsletter dove over the dome several times. Its shadow even passed over the hole in the dome. We are including a picture that Steve took when the circle of sunlight through the dome was completely covering the altar, something which occurs for less than 30 seconds only twice a year. Although it was intended to occur at noon on May 6 to coincide with the surrender, it actually occurred just before noon on April 29 this year.

Mango season is now in full swing. The upside is that, if we are lucky, we may get some free, delicious fruit. The monkeys here are apt to climb up into the trees, grab a mango, take a bite, decide it’s too sour, throw it to the ground, and repeat. Often we see a mango tree surrounded by mangoes with a single bite out of each one. The downside of mango season is that it brings out more flies. Steve touched a mango on one of the trees the other day, and was immediately under attack by red ants, which are all over the trees in search of the sweet juice. How the Filipinos can pick the fruit before the monkeys, and how they and the monkeys can stand the ants, is beyond us.

Last year we wrote about a tree in the yard which bursts into bloom a few days after a soaking rain. The very fragrant flowers are white, about an inch in diameter and ¾ inch deep, and have five or six petals. The fragrance is light during the day, becoming very intense just after dark, perfuming the house and yard all through the night for about a week. We are still curious about its identity, and wondering if it might be a variety of night blooming jasmine. Its medium-green leaves are relatively soft and not glossy, one to two inches long, with a very finely serrated edge. Take a gander at the picture and let us know if you agree that it is a form of jasmine.

P.S. On the story about toilets seats disappearing because all over the world because of our newsletter – just kidding!!!

P.P.S. We recently heard that you can use a toilet to measure time. “How long is a minute? It depends which side of the bathroom (CR) door you are on!”

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