Practical Electronics:

Have just bought a lovely little 40G USB Hard Disk in a box, with cable -so that I can back-up my ailing system (the computer -not my biological body!)...... In a few days a friend will come and help install a new (Debian based) operating system.... I don't know why -but I've never been happy (iether in Holland or here) with Red-Hat versions of Linux.... Actually, it's quite amazing how "underground" Linux seems to be in a commercial environment. The owner of the electronics shop told me that he had a friend who was a Linux man -but he'd lost contact and hadn't seen him for around eight years..... I'm beginning to suspect it would be easier to join the NPA than find a Linux technician via the Cyberzone..... 

It is (for an outsider) amazing how difficult it is to find somebody here if you don't know their telephone number (or email adress -I guess). In Europe there are on-line, hard-copy and telephone based enquiry systems that provide telephone numbers (and adresses) for all those who don't have secret numbers..... In this context, I seem to remember that French citizens were introduced to electronic communication systems when the telphone company decided that it was cheaper and more efficient to give every telephone subcriber,  instead of a printed telephone directory,  a "Minitel" terminal which could do much more than just provide the telephone numbers..... The on-line dating and chat service seemed to be the most popular -which I guess was also a good example of technology preserving and promoting traditional cultural cliches.....

"The Minitel is a Videotex online service accessible through the telephone lines, and is considered one of the world's most successful pre-World Wide Web online services. It was launched in France in 1982 by the PTT (Poste, Téléphone et Télécommunications; divided since 1991 between France Télécom and La Poste). Since its early days, users could make online purchases, make train reservations, check stock prices, search the telephone directory, and chat in a similar way to that now made possible by the Internet." <>
 From: <>

On the BBC website, it seems that apparently they have managed to discover "Inequality on show in Filipino resort" <>.
-I wonder if they'll ever find out who Bolante was and what his role in things was..... Presumably, digging beneath the surface is work for archeologists -and only starts when everybody is dead......

Incidentally, in England, the 5th of November is "Fireworks night".

"I drove home tonight watching and smelling fireworkes. Today is Guy Fawlkes Day and bonfires are lit, effigies are burned and fireworks are set off to celebrate the day Guy Fawlkes and several friends tried to blow up Parliment. In 1605, Catholic Guy Fawlkes and his friends decided that violent protest was all that was left to them after Elizabeth I died and James I gave them a harder time than Elizabeth. These men put 36 barrels of gun powder under the House of Lords. To make a long story short, the King found out and when the army found the barrels Guy Fawlkes was caught, tortured and executed. For some reason, this started the tradition of having huge bonfires and setting off fireworks. It is a really big deal with everyone taking off from work early so they can be sure to be at the bonfire when it is lit." <>

"The Gunpowder plot was conceived by a certain Robert Catesby from Warwickshire. Catesby was a Catholic whose plan was to blow up Parliament during its opening ceremony on 5th November 1605, when the king would be present in the Palace of Westminster. With James I dead, Catesby would organize a Catholic uprising in the Midlands, capture either the young Prince Charles or Princess Elizabeth or both, and place one of them on the throne."<>
From:  <>

"Written early in the reign of James I (1603 1625), Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a typical “Jacobean” tragedy in many important respects. Referred to superstitiously by actors as “the Scottish play,” the script commemorates James’s national heritage by depicting events during the years 1040 to 1057 in his native Scotland. The play also celebrates the ruler’s intense interest in witchcraft and magic, which was recorded in a book he wrote in 1597 entitled Demonology. Further topical allusions to the king include all the passages in the script mentioning sleeplessness, which are relevant since James was a well-known insomniac.

The most memorable references to Jacobean England in the play, however, are those which chronicle events of the notorious Gunpowder Plot--a conspiracy by Catholic sympathizers to blow up the Parliament building and all the heads of state on November 5, 1605, approximately one year before Shakespeare’s play was written. On that date, Guy Fawkes and his band of Jesuit-sponsored papists smuggled an immense amount of gunpowder into a vault under the Parliament, which would have killed everyone in the building in a fiery cataclysm had the king not detected the explosives prior to their detonation. According to a recent book by Garry Wills, Witches and Jesuits (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), James claimed to have discovered the plan by “inspiration” from God, who wished to save England from Rome’s “Popish plot.” Through popular mythology following the event, Jesuits were branded as “equivocators” who had tried to attack both England and the Reformation through a perverse use not only of gunpowder (“the devil’s invention”), but also of the very nature of language, which they employed in double and triple entendre to hide from the king and his court their fiendish intentions." <>

See also the William Shakespeare Timeline <>
(From: <>)
for more details of the interactions between Politics, Art and Religion during one of the "Golden Ages" of British history..... With one of the key elements (which still plays a role in the politics of Northern Ireland) being the position of Roman Catholics in a society that became "Protestant" on the personal whim of King Henry VIII (because the Pope wouldn't give him a divorce)...... In late Tudor Britiain, Catholicism wasn't just a religion -it could easily mean a treasonous heracy -even though a few monarchs since Henry have been Catholic -including Elizabeth I's own (half)sister.

"As long as her Protestant half-brother remained on the throne, Elizabeth's own position remained secure. In 1553, however, Edward died at the age of fifteen, after suffering ill health from birth. He had left a will which purported to supersede his father's will. Disregarding the Act of Succession 1544, it excluded both Mary and Elizabeth from succeeding to the throne and declared Lady Jane Grey, ward of Thomas Seymour, to be his heiress. A plot was formed by Thomas and John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland who married his son, Guilford Dudley to Jane. Lady Jane ascended the throne, but was deposed less than two weeks later. Armed with popular support, Mary rode triumphantly into London, her half-sister Elizabeth at her side." <>
From <>

In a BBC programme on Shakespeare I heard that he was Catholic too -and distantly related to the gunpowder plotters..... According to the programme -the need to tread carefully with regard to the religious politics of the day was what made Shakespeare such a nuanced artist in comparason to his contempories..... Assuming, of course, that Shakespeare did actually write the plays attributed to him.

 "John Shakespeare's eldest son had been born in dangerous times. It was less than half a century since the Queen's father, King Henry VIII, had broken with Rome, despoiled and looted church landholdings and shrines, executed notables from Sir Thomas More to two of his own wives, including Elizabeth's mother.

The Elizabethan era was fast approaching its apogee — a sustained period of military, political, scientific and cultural achievement without parallel in British history. But it was also an age of ferocious religious persecution. Herself a deeply devout and civilised woman, Elizabeth presided with apparent reluctance over the pursuit, torture and execution of papists, in sporadic purges of varying intensity. But it was a time for followers of the 'old' faith to tread carefully, to worship in corners — for some, if necessary, to deny their faith or at the least 'equivocate'.

In 1757, a century and a half after John Shakespeare's death, a document of great significance was found hidden in the rafters of the family house in Henley Street — by then occupied by Thomas Hart, a direct lineal descendant of William's sister Joan. Retiling Hart's roof was a team of workmen led by Joseph Moseley, a master-builder described as 'very honest, sober, industrious', who on 29 April came upon a small 'paper-book', or pamphlet, tucked between the old tiling and the rafters. Its six stitched leaves turned out to contain fourteen articles amounting to a profession of Roman Catholic faith." < >

Apparently the British secret service (which of course doesn't exist) was also well established in Elizabethen times -with the notorious Walsingham as its head.... "Sir Francis Walsingham (c. 1530April 6, 1590) is remembered by history as the "spymaster" of Queen Elizabeth I of England. An admirer of Machiavelli, Walsingham is remembered as one of the most proficient espionage-weavers in history, excelling in the use of intrigues and deception to secure the English Crown. He is widely considered as the "Father of Modern Intelligence." " <>

"‘Macbeth’ is the third of Shakespeare’s plays that deals with monarchies, following on from Hamlet and King Lear.  It was probably written around 1605 and was firstly performed for King James I around about 1607, just shortly after Guy Fawkes and some other conspirators were caught plotting to kill the King.   These conspirators were Roman Catholic activists.

‘Macbeth’ was clearly a controversial play, dealing with the assassination of a King, but one can assume that Shakespeare intended the play to compliment monarchs, and it is no co-incidence that James I was descended from Scottish ancestry.  No doubt the subject of the early Kings of Scotland would be interesting to the King.

It should be noted that Shakespeare quotes directly from James I’s Handbook, which gives details on good government, in the play ‘Macbeth’.

As with the other works of Shakespeare, there have been numerous adaptations and films over the years.  Notable films are ‘Throne of Blood’ by Akiro Kurosawa, 1957 and ‘Macbeth’ by Roman Polanski, 1971. Arguably the best portrayal of the title role was by Orson Welles in a black and white film, which provided a realistic atmosphere.

There is a great deal of superstition about this play and actors believe it to be bad luck to mention ‘Macbeth’, so they refer to it as ‘The Scottish Play’."

By some bizarre co-incidence, the father of a (Dutch) ex-colleague and friend of mine -was shot in the head by a shot-gun in a hunting accident on November the 5th (year unknown by me). Although until then 5 November had no significance in Holland -for my friend it meant that as a teenager (and oldest child) she suddenly became head of a family of four siblings -plus a severely disabled mother who had suffered a series of strokes from the early age of 35. What aggravated this -was the fact that although apparently everybody knew who was responsible -for local political reasons, there was a cover-up and nobody was ever held responsible for the most tragic event in my friend's life. Feelings concerning a sense of justice haunted her for years after..... inspiring her life as a person and her work as an artist and an educator <>.

All my friends are wonderful and unique people. We may dissagree over some things -and we may not always understand each other. However, I revel in all their peculiarities (as I hope they do mine) and wouldn't want to change anything about them -except, of course, where it might perhaps make them even happier than they usually are.

It seems that art, life, electronics and the human mind all involve mysterious and complex interactions......
and I find those interactions aesthetically, emotionally and intellectually fascinating and beautiful......

The universe is my garden -and I enjoy watching it live and grow. Which is why I get very upset when I see the destruction being caused by the pusuit of commercial profit as the only thing that matters. On the other hand, one can indeed learn much from the plants -especially the way they bide their time until the time is ripe. Given time, plants can destroy concrete and asfelt -presumably, without even knowing of the existance of gunpowder. Even at my age, I still have much to learn -from nature and perhaps from electronics....

Trevor Batten
<trevor at>
Manila, 5 November 2006