Political Risk Smelling Good

Here’s a joke to add cheer to a dreary Friday.

Bigmac interviewed a candidate for our political risk and structured trade vacancy this morning.  The candidate is definitely very strong academically (2nd upper honours in Actuarial Science) but unfortunately not very savvy otherwise.  Here’s an excerpt of the conversation that convinced Bigmac not to hire him…

Bigmac: So you’re keen on political risk.  Have you heard of Hugo Chavez?
Candidate: Yes.  That’s a perfume right?

Bigmac assures me that I will not want him working with me.  HAHAHAHAHA.

Why People Get Fat

A friend of mine often posts tabloid worthy news links on Facebook.  One of the links today was about the dangers of the cosmetics we used.  If you want to find out how the cosmetics you use is killing you, you can check out http://cosmeticsdatabase.com/

Azure and I were having a laugh about the site when Azure pointed out that as long as a product contains ‘methylparaben’, that website will deem it is a hazardous product.  Curious, I did a search online on the effects of ‘methylparaben".  What I found out was that methylparaben is an anti-fungal that is widely used as a preservative for food, drugs, and cosmetics.  The compound is often found in carpules of local anaesthetic, acting as a bacteriostatic agent and preservative.  To date, there is no conclusive/causal evidence to suggest that ‘methylparaben’ is harmful to health.

My search however, did bring me to a very very insightful website on why there are so many obese people in the world today.  This article is taken from http://www.terressentials.com/endocrine.html:

The World Health Organization estimated that, in 1995, there were 200 million obese adults worldwide. By 2000, that number had grown to 300 million. It is very strange, indeed, that this epidemic coexists with undernutrition, affecting nearly every nation, rich or poor, and that it is affecting women more than men. What is causing this rapidly increasing global obesity epidemic?

Over the past decade, the United States has been urgently investigating the effects of low levels of synthetic personal care product chemicals found in our water — lakes, rivers, oceans. Scientists around the world have now linked these chemicals from personal care products to a growing global health crisis, causing life-threatening and costly metabolic and neurological disorders. These endocrine disorders threaten to bankrupt the US medical system within the next 30 years.

What types of products contain these harmful chemicals? The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently reported that they have found synthetic hormone-disrupting chemicals in shampoo, preservatives, hair coloring agents, sunscreens, fragrances and pharmaceuticals. These chemicals are washed into our water every day and, as a result, they never go away — they are persistent because of daily replenishment via bathing, swimming and urination. Sadly, of the 80,000 plus chemicals used in products, just a tiny fraction were ever fully tested for toxicity, let alone for their hormone interference potential. Currently, toxicity tests required by the government do not evaluate endocrine disrupting effects, so even so-called "tested chemicals" can have unidentified hazardous health effects. You should be aware that the phrases "no known toxicity" or "no known health effects" do not necessarily mean that a substance is harmless.

The EPA is very concerned about the antimicrobial preservatives called parabens (alkyl-p-hydroxybenzoates). Parabens are ubiquitous — found in cosmetics, skin creams, sunscreen lotions, shampoos — even pet food. The EPA states that all parabens — methyl, propyl, butyl — have been proven to have endocrine-disrupting effects. They are particularly concerned about the hormone-disrupting effects of nonoxynol (nonyl phenol) found in hair colorings, shampoos, and spermicides, and sunscreen chemicals such as benzophenone [oxybenzone] and methoxycinnamate. It is very disturbing to learn that many of these chemicals can be found in personal care products that claim to be "natural" and "organic." We feel that some companies who pretend to be natural and organic are among the worst of the environmental hypocrites.

What is an endocrine disruptor? Endocrine disruptors are chemical substances, primarily man-made synthetics, that interfere with the function of the endocrine system. These synthetics may be derived from petroleum or vegetable sources and are created in environmentally unfriendly industrial processes using toxic catalysts and reagents. These chemicals mimic, block or disrupt the actions of human (and animal) hormones and, unexpectedly, do more damage at low levels of exposure than at high levels. These chemicals can also work in sinister yet subtle ways by disrupting the body’s ability to produce adequate quantities of hormones or by interfering with the body’s hormonal pathways. One single chemical can affect many parts of the endocrine system. Often minute amounts of several of these environmental hormone chemicals can combine to create effects thousands of times more potent than a single chemical.

The endocrine system regulates every function of the body. It consists of the thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal glands, the pancreas, the ovaries and the testes, all linked to the hypothalamus in the brain. The hypothalamus is like the mainframe computer of the body, sending signals to the glands that provide the instructions for creating hormones, which are the natural chemical messengers that tell your cells what to do. The various endocrine glands send the messenger chemicals via the bloodstream to different parts of the body where they bind to specific receptors that control all cellular functions. One messenger hormone, estrogen, is secreted by the ovaries and plays a major part in the regulation of menstruation, fertility, pregnancy, and fat cell activity.

When you rub body care products on your body or hair dye on your scalp you can absorb or inhale synthetic chemicals that contain endocrine disruptors which may send false signals to your body’s endocrine glands. When your glands are confused they cannot function normally and serious health problems result. In addition, when you bathe, whatever chemicals aren’t absorbed by your body are washed down the drain into the drinking water supply, where they can cause a cascade of negative environmental problems. These endocrine disruptors are affecting algae and other microscopic life, fish, whales and birds. Humans are exposed when they drink the water and eat the fish contaminated by personal care product chemicals. The government has found sunscreen chemicals in fish and human breast milk.

Endocrine disruptors are stored in a body’s fatty tissues and do not get flushed out with water, thus they accumulate over the years. It is now recognized that the dramatic increases of breast cancer, non-Hodgkins lymphoma and thyroid cancer have been linked to exposure to environmental estrogens. In the past twenty-five years in the US, alone, thyroid cancer has increased more than 45%, with more women being affected than men, and has become the number one cancer in children under age twenty, many of whom suffered from fetal endocrine disruption exposures.

How can you protect yourself? Read every ingredient on every personal care product label and be suspicious of every chemical ingredient. Ask yourself if you would eat that ingredient because, when you rub products onto your body, 60% of the product may end up in your body. When your bottle of body lotion is empty, where did all of the product go? The lotion that was absorbed quickly, was absorbed into your body! The rest washes down the drain. Question manufacturers about their synthetic chemical ingredients. Tell your family and friends about the chemicals that are affecting them and their children. Remember true organic products NEVER contain potentially harmful chemical ingredients. True organic products are made from real organic foods. Protect yourself and our planet and use only true organic products. Ask for TerrEssentials — true organic.

Isn’t that one interesting and mystery smashing article?  So the reason why people are fat these days, is ‘cos we use too much shampoo, moisturisers, etc.  I’m SURE the people in Africa are skinny and malnourished ‘cos they don’t use as much cosmetics as we do.  Yeah.  That’s gotta be it man.


My mom "kena suan" by her colleague last week.  It was unintentional I think… but funny nonetheless.

Colleague: Do you mind if we go Mos Burger for lunch today?
Mom: OK.  Why you ask?
Colleague: ‘Cos it so happens everytime you lunch with us we have fast food.
Mom: Why?  You think auntie cannot eat fast food is it?
Colleague: Ya… my mom doesn’t eat.


Funny Church Bulletin Announcements

Got this from this website.

The following were actual announced in church services or appeared in church bulletins.

  • The scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recyled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
  • The outreach committee has enlisted 25 visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church.
  • Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10:00 a.m. All ladies are invited to lunch in the fellowship hall after the B.S. is done.
  • Evening Massage – 6 p.m.
  • The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would give him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning.
  • Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 p.m. Please use the back door.
  • The third verse of “Blessed Assurance” will be sung without musical accomplishment.
  • For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
  • The Reverend Merriwether spoke briefly, much to the delight of the congregation.
  • The pastor will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing “Break Forth Into Joy”.
  • A songfest was hell at the Methodist Church Wednesday.
  • Due to the Rector’s illness, Wednesday’s healing service will be discontinued until further notice.
  • Stewardship Offertory: “Jesus Paid It All”.
  • The music for today’s service was all composed by George Friedrich Handel in celebration of the 300th anniversary of his birth.
  • Remember in your prayers the many who are sick of our church and community.
  • The eighth graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the church basement noon Friday. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
  • The concert held in the fellowship hall was a great success. Special thanks to the minister’s daughter, who labored the whole evening at the piano, which as usual, fell upon her.
  • Twenty-two members were present at the church meeting held in the home of Mrs. Marsha Crutchfield last evening. Mrs. Crutchfield and Mrs. Rankin sang a duet, “The Lord Knows Why”.
  • Don’t let worry kill you, let the church help.
  • The rose on the altar this morning is to announce the birth of David Alan Belzer, the sin of Rev. and Mrs. Julius Belzer.
  • This afternoon, there will be a meeting at the south and north ends of the church. Children will be baptized at both ends.
  • This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.
  • The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind and they may be seen in the church basement Friday.
  • At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be “What is Hell?” Come early and hear the choir practice.
  • Weight Watchers will meet at 7:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use the large double doors at the side entrance.
  • Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa, will be speaking tonight at Calvary Methodist. Come hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.
  • Announcement in a church bulletin for a national PRAYER & FASTING Conference: “The cost for attending the Fasting and Prayer Conference includes meals.”
  • The sermon this morning: “Jesus Walks On The Water.” The sermon tonight: “Searching For Jesus.”
  • Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don’t forget your husbands.
  • The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict.
  • Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say “hell” to someone who doesn’t care much about you.
  • Miss Charlene Mason sang I Will Not Pass This Way Again, giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
  • Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
  • Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Jack’s sermons.
  • During the absence of our pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon when J. F. Stubbs supplied our pulpit.
  • Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
  • A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
  • Eight new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
  • Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.
  • Attend and you will hear an excellent speaker and heave a healthy lunch.
  • The church will host an evening of fine dining, superb entertainment, and gracious hostility.
  • Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 p.m. – prayer and medication to follow.
  • This evening at 7 p.m. there will be a hymn sing in the park across from the church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
  • The associate minister unveiled the church’s new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday: “I Upped My Pledge – Up Yours.”

Finger the Noun

For a very long time, I’ve struggled with the use of the word "invite".  I’ve always understood "invite" to be a verb, e.g. you invite someone to your house for a Christmas party.  However, these days, "invite" is commonly used to replace the word "invitation", e.g. I received a wedding invite from my friend yesterday.

So far, I’ve switched between using "invite" and the correct "invitation" depending on the situation.  At times when I need to use short forms, like when typing an sms, I will use "invite’ in place of "invitation".  However, this exchanging of a verb for a noun really got to me when I watched the show, "The Real Wedding Crashers" today.  Verbs and nouns were thoroughly mixed up in the show.  The 2 examples that really annoyed me were:

1) Did I ash into the car?  (Meaning: Did I throw ash into the car) &

2) The big reveal (Meaning: The big revelation).

What the heck was wrong with these people!  I mean, the above was just sooooo darn wrong.  And to prove why one shouldn’t mix up nouns and verbs… this classic example happened to me at Balaclava just now.

EA was talking animatedly to 3 female colleagues and as he punctured his speech with gestures, he accidentally stuck out his middle finger.  I cut in (a bit too) quickly and said,

"Eh EA!  Why you finger her!"

Immediately, Booze Queen responded saying, "Oh… that sounds damn wrong".

I was about to clarify myself by saying, "Er, I meant why did you show your finger to her".

But I didn’t get a chance lah… ‘cos EA, not catching what I said (think he heard something else), turned to me and said,

"UTG, you’re correct".

Anyway, bottomline is, don’t mix up your verbs and nouns.  It’s just… so wrong.

Innovative Christmas Gift

I’ve been cracking my head over what to buy for some close friends for Christmas.  I originally wanted to give them some stuff from Bath and Bodyworks but unfortunately, the shipment will only come in Jan 2009.  Azure, probably sensing my dilemma, sent me the following email.


My dear friends,

Somewhat embarrassing to admit, Christmas is tight this year.
I will be making bedroom slippers for you all as gifts. Please let me know your sizes. You’ll most likely agree that it’s a splendid idea, and should you wish to do the same, I’ve included the instructions below.

How to make bedroom slippers out of maxi pads:
– You need four maxi pads to make a pair.
– Two of them get laid out flat, for the foot part.
– The other two wrap around the toe area to form the top.
– Tape or glue each side of the top pieces to the bottom of the foot part.

Decorate the tops with whatever you desire, silk flowers (this is most aesthetically appealing), etc.
These slippers are:
– Soft and Hygienic
– Non-slip grip strips on the soles
– Built in deodorant feature keeps feet smelling fresh
– No more bending over to mop up spills
– Disposable and biodegradable
– Environmentally safe
– Three convenient sizes: (1.) Regular, (2.) Light and (3.) Get out the Sand Bags.

I’ve attached a photo of the first pair I made so that you can see the nifty slippers for yourself….

Awaiting your response. It’s crucial that I get the right size for each one of you.



Oh yeah… Azure suggests using panty liners for kid’s size.