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Winston "Arf-Arf" Arpon
PMA '64


Today is Not Wednesday,
So Sorry


What you see is not a typo – yes, this issue is for July 22, 2009; yes, the title of this column still is Witful Thinking, Wednesday.
And please refrain from looking at your calendar.


With Tiger Woods, the number one golfer of the world, missing the cut, for only the second time in a major golf tournament and only the sixth time in any golf tournament throughout his professional career, we were disappointed.

This certainly was not the 138th Open that we expected. Therefore, we will remember this not as the British Open but the Brutish Open.


The contrasting performance of the two TWs – Tom Watson and Tiger Woods – during the qualifying rounds on Thursday and Friday did not escape the attention – and the wit – of the pundits in the media.

Overheard, when the 59-year-old Watson was on top of the leader board and Woods had failed to make the cut:

Watson is leading; Woods is leaving.

Also overheard when it was clear that Woods won’t be around for the weekend:

Turnberry, like other golf links, has no trees; now, it has no woods either.  


POTUS Barack Obama in addressing the arrest of Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. at his Cambridge home said that "the Cambridge police acted stupidly."

The following day, sharing his thoughts during a press briefing he said, “my choice of words…..gave the impression that I was maligning the Cambridge police department or Sergeant Crowley specifically.” 

“I could have calibrated those words differently.”

Yes, boys and girls, hope to emulate this great speaker by calibrating your words.


Meanwhile, despite recent opinion polls showing his approval rating dip to less than 50% for the first time since assuming office, Obama continues to get favorable reviews, this time in comparison with the Pope. Yes, the Holy Father himself.

"Obama's pragmatic approach to divisive policy . . . and his social-justice agenda,” the review states, “reflect the views of American Catholic laity much more closely than those vocal bishops and pro-life activists." Thus wrote Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the former lieutenant governor of Maryland and eldest of Robert Kennedy's 11 children, in a column for Newsweek magazine’s Web site.

Never mind if Townsend’s assertion sparked, perhaps as expected according to accounts, some “controversy and outrage,” our thoughts obviously not included.


Our thanks to WTW reader and friend Joseph “Joe” Dasbach, for bringing to our attention for a possible commentary, this food for thought, this fodder for WTW (“Most anything for your fodderland,” Joe wrote to assure us, in his usual wit and humor): the Philippines ranks 114th among 144 countries in terms of the Global Peace Index. GPI is collated and calculated by the Economist Intelligence Unit, on the basis of 23 indicators measuring conflicts, societal security and militarization.

Memo to Malacanang, especially to the staff preparing GMA’s Talking Points in her meeting with the US President:
You may wish to point out that with this rank, the Philippine is much closer to the US, ranked 83rd, than it is Asian neighbors, Singapore (23rd), Malaysia (26th), Vietnam (39th), Laos (45th), and Indonesia (67th).


Political candidates, including presidential candidates of course, have until Nov. 30 to file their certificates of candidacy, according to the Commission on Elections.

Vice President Noli de Castro, the frontrunner among the so-called ‘presidentiables’ in several polls – and at the top of WTW’s First Five [1] – has made a decision. His decision: No decision.


On the other hand, Eddie Panlilio, the non-politician, okay, the priest-turned-politician, has made his decision too.

“I have every intention,” the Pampanga Priest-Governor declared, “to file my candidacy on or before Nov. 30. I’m ready for all the consequences, including
dispensation from priesthood.”

We do not know if Noli de Castro was listening. He might want to take a page, now more than later, from Panlilio’s battle cry, “Kilos Na!” [2] Gilberto Teodoro beats him to the punch as standard bearer of the administration’s Lakas-Kampi-CD Party. Unless, of course, de Castro has some skeletons in his closet since he ran and won the Vice-Presidency as an independent over Loren Legarda.


Yes, we know. Today is not July 22 and neither is it Wednesday, so this column is tardy.

Very tardy. Muy retrasado.



But please don't blame Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula or Cancun. Don’t blame Moon Palace Resort, Isla Mujeres or Tulum. Don’t blame driver Angel, tour guide Marco Antonio or the Mayans.


You grab the caballito [3] and gulp your last tequila; you are unaware that the sun has set before your droopy eyes; and even before your thoughts turn, perhaps in a daze, to Tequila Sunrise – no matter which one, the movie or the cocktail – it dawns upon you that after one week of this vacation with your family, it’s back to reality.
It is, to quote our favorite ESPN announcer, back, back, back, back! For us, back to WTW.   


Thankfully, to the best of our knowledge and from the backlog of emails,
WTW was missed by no one.

Well, except perhaps for Cavalier Irwin Ver ’70, and not intentionally, at that. In the course of a phone conversation we had on a subject as remotely related to WTW as California is to Quintana Roo, he suddenly realized that it was Wednesday and he told us so, reminding us ever so subtly that this column was due that day, as if we didn’t know and had forgotten.


A “Cavalier’s Day” was held July 22 with CENTCOM boss Cavalier Isagani Cachuela ’76 at the forefront of the celebration with over 100 members of the PMAAAI Central Philippines Fraternal Chapter in attendance in the land of LapuLapu.

Cavalier Nimrod Quinones x91, a journalist affiliated with The Freeman in Cebu City, wrote an interesting article on this affair.


Not to be outdone, NORCAListos and NORCAListas, another fraternal chapter of the PMAAAI Overseas had its annual picnic the following day, with about 50 in attendance, following on the heels of a get-together, the week before, of  PMAers in the Chicago area, the of this fraternal organization escaping us at the moment (translation: SMS, Senior Moment Syndrome). 

Next Saturday, the NorthEast Group of Cavaliers, otherwise known as the renegades, will be holding their annual picnic.
All these – in the Philippines and abroad – a dry-run for or in lieu of the alumni picnic in February under the auspices of the mother organization, PMAAAI?


Cavalier Mario Phil Plaza ’78 wrote to rescue his classmate, the current chief of the AFP Finance Center, from another instance of WTW’s mistaken identity. We identified him as Cavalier Cornelio “Jun” Aquino. We got his first name and nickname right, but not his last name, de la Cruz.

We regret the error, Commodore Cornelio de la Cruz. But hey, two out of three isn’t that bad, is it? Moreover, we are thinking that if you attended the briefing, we probably would have not made the mistake, would we?


Our note in that issue  – Boto, a Filipino word, means vote – elicited from WTW readers an unusual and unexpected feedback – flak?

As has been pointed out to us, rather correctly – thank you, Cavaliers Francisco “Mike/Banat” [4] This time San Miguel signed his email, Tandang Isko San Miguel ’51, Gregorio “Blackjack” Carino ’69, Lino Mercurio [5], Fards Fajardo – we forgot that the word has another meaning in other dialects, such as Bicol and Waray, even Tagalog. Unfortunately, it is a part of the human male’s anatomy that a decent column like WTW ought to stay away from.

Unless, of course, we can do an imitation of Obama – calibrate our word differently. 


In last week’s issue, we started a countdown to an important milestone in Philippine politics, thus:
Sir, there are 306 days, 7,344 hours, 440,640 minutes, 26,438,400 seconds and 52,876,800 ticks before the Philippine elections.

A WTW reader who, like us, knows by heart the plebe knowledge – How Many Days, Oh Noble Cataline? – agrees that we got our computations but our milestone wrong, dead wrong. He believes the milestone not to be the election but this: Someone will be sworn in as Code 1 [6] on May 10, 2010.

We would hate to be proven wrong, for the sake of the country and the Filipino people; so we stand by our milestone, not this reader’s.

Didn’t the President say in her State of the Nation Address the other night that there will be an election on May 10, 2010? 


Using “How Many Days Oh Noble Cataline?” plebe knowledge [7], as we did last week, we are continuing this countdown: 

Sir, there are 292 days, 7,008 hours, 420,480 minutes, 25,228,800 seconds and 50,457,600 ticks before the Philippine elections (or non-election).


@arf-arf ‘64
cancun, mexico

[1]  For our Starting Five, see 09-06-24 WTW/’Independence Day: Dialing the Wong Number,  not the Wrong Number”
[2]  Kilos Na, a Filipino phrase, translates to “Act Now!” or “Let’s Act!”
[3]  Caballito literally means “little horse” in Spanish; it also means, as used here, a narrow type of Mexican shot glass, for spirits such as tequila
[4]  This time San Miguel who we now regard virtually as a WTW C5 (Cavalier contributor, correspondent, conniver and critic) signed his email differently – Tandang Isko
[5]  Referring to boto, evidently in jest, Mercurio wrote: Heto na ang magiging "Word of the Year"! (Here now is going to be the “Word of the Year!”)
[6]  Code 1 is the codename for the Philippine President
[7]  A ‘plebe knowledge’ is a collective body of knowledge in the form of composition, poems, rhymes, verses, definitions, etc. that plebes in military academies, like PMA, are required to know and recite verbatim from memory.

In this plebe knowledge, How Many Days, Oh Noble Cataline, we do what the plebes do –compute the days and convert to hours, minutes, seconds and ticks – before the Philippine election scheduled to be held on May 10, 2010.