Thursday, May 31, 2012

Movie of the Week-Lost in Paradise

Here's a second movie this week that I like very much. It is a story of male and female prostitution in Saigon, South Vietnam. It has English subtitles. It is an excellent movie if you are not homophobic. There is the side story of a mentally handicapped man and his pet duck. This side story touched my heart, indeed. It reminded me of my childhood years when I was raising a chick that think, I was his mother in the jungle of Panay Island during the American-Japanese War in the Philippines. Let me know if you like it. Lost in Paradise is a 2011 Vietnamese drama film directed by Vũ Ngọc Đãng. Its original title is Rebellious Hot Boy and the Story of Cười, the Prostitute and the Duck (Hot boy nổi loạn và câu chuyện về thằng Cười, cô gái điếm và con vịt), shortened to Rebellious Hot Boy (Hot boy nổi loạn) or simply Hot Boy. The film is set in Saigon and has two separate story lines. The first depicts a love triangle between three men, Khôi, Lam, and Đông, of whom the latter two work as prostitutes. The second concerns a mentally-handicapped man, Cười, his friendship with Hạnh, a female prostitute, and his attempts to raise a duckling. The film was a strong critical and commercial success in Vietnam. It has been shown at several international festivals, from which it garnered more mixed reviews. In particular its portrayal of homosexuality has been noted as ground breaking within the context of Vietnamese cinema.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Journey to the Center of Your Mind-A Video

The other day, I received this video from a member of the Philippine American Academy of Science and Engineering(PAASE) regarding the brain and its function. This is one of the most interesting video talk I have viewed for quite sometime. Listened to it and tell me if you agree. This lecture is by Vilayanur Ramachandran an excellent speaker and sponsored by TEDTalks. Vilayanur Ramachandran tells us what brain damage can reveal about the connection between celebral tissue and the mind, using three startling delusions as examples. TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers are invited to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes -- including speakers such as Jill Bolte Taylor, Sir Ken Robinson, Hans Rosling, Al Gore and Arthur Benjamin. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, politics and the arts.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Facebook Stocks is still going Downhill as I predicted

I have been posting several updates on what is going on about FaceBook stocks, since its offerring at $38 per share. I felt at that time that the price was too high and FB stocks was not a good long term investment. So far, I am right on the money. I still will not buy FB stocks until it goes down below $20 per share. Here's the latest news on FB from CNN Money Magazine. Facebook is finally a buy at ..(about $8 per Share?) By Paul R. La Monica May 29, 2012: Are you ready to take a spin? Even though the highest number on a roulette wheel is 36, fund managers say Facebook stock may not get back there anytime soon. Facebook shares continue to plummet. Shares were down nearly 7% Tuesday, falling below the $30 level. The stock is now more than 20% below its offering price of $38. That makes it officially a bear market for the social network. But guess what? It's likely to get worse for Facebook (FB) before it gets better. It's easier to make that case now, since we are starting to get a slow trickle of earnings and revenue forecasts for Facebook. Analysts at firms who were underwriters for the IPO are not allowed to officially start coverage on the stock for another few weeks -- although it looks like bearish remarks from lead banker Morgan Stanley (MS) have already led to shareholder lawsuits. Brokerages that were not part of the Facebook offering are free to issue reports on the stock. Because of the intense interest in Zuckerberg & Co., there already is a critical mass of coverage and earnings estimates. Ten analysts have earnings forecasts for 2012. Related: Wall Street losses mount on Facebook IPO For what it's worth, the median price target on the stock is $42, 40% higher than the current price. Analysts are forecasting earnings growth, on average, over the next three to five years of about 36% a year. In other words, Facebook has a lot to live up to in order to satisfy Wall Street's so-called sell side. That's why many investors are still shying away from the stock. I spoke with four fund managers Tuesday who all have big exposure to the tech sector. Not one of them said they are tempted to buy Facebook's stock yet. They all said the shares remain extremely overvalued. "We have not invested in Facebook. Here's the reason: Growth expectations are high, and the company would have had to do a number things flawlessly to meet them over the next few years. There is no point investing in them this early," said Sunil Reddy, portfolio manager with Apex Capital Management in Dayton, Ohio. Reddy said that he prefers Google (GOOG) to Facebook. Google trades at just 13.7 times 2012 earnings estimates. If you take that multiple and apply it to Facebook's consensus earnings estimate of 55 cents a share for 2012, you get a Facebook stock price of only $7.56! That's nearly 75% below its current price. Facebook's stock has not been well received since its IPO. Some fund managers think the stock could fall a lot more before it becomes a bargain. Of course, that probably is too bearish of a prediction. Facebook is still a solid company with strong growth prospects. It's not a fly-by-night tech destined for obsolescence; it just didn't deserve to be worth more than $100 billion on day 1 as a public company.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Buying FaceBook Stocks is a Risky Business

I finally had a chance in reading FaceBook IPO offerring prospectus. The following is a warning and the risks a consumer had to gamble in purchasing FB stocks. I still believe FB stocks are not good for long term investments ( see my previous postings on this subject) Risks Related to Our Business and Industry (FaceBook) "If we fail to retain existing users or add new users, or if our users decrease their level of engagement with Facebook, our revenue, financial results, and business may be significantly harmed. The size of our user base and our users’ level of engagement are critical to our success. We had 901 million monthly active users (MAUs) as of March 31, 2012. Our financial performance has been and will continue to be significantly determined by our success in adding, retaining, and engaging active users. We anticipate that our active user growth rate will decline over time as the size of our active user base increases, and as we achieve higher market penetration rates. To the extent our active user growth rate slows, our business performance will become increasingly dependent on our ability to increase levels of user engagement in current and new markets. If people do not perceive our products to be useful, reliable, and trustworthy, we may not be able to attract or retain users or otherwise maintain or increase the frequency and duration of their engagement. A number of other social networking companies that achieved early popularity have since seen their active user bases or levels of engagement decline, in some cases precipitously. There is no guarantee that we will not experience a similar erosion of our active user base or engagement levels. A decrease in user retention, growth, or engagement could render Facebook less attractive to developers and advertisers, which may have a material and adverse impact on our revenue, business, financial condition, and results of operations. Any number of factors could potentially negatively affect user retention, growth, and engagement, including if: • users increasingly engage with competing products; • we fail to introduce new and improved products or if we introduce new products or services that are not favorably received; • we are unable to successfully balance our efforts to provide a compelling user experience with the decisions we make with respect to the frequency, prominence, and size of ads and other commercial content that we display; • we are unable to continue to develop products for mobile devices that users find engaging, that work with a variety of mobile operating systems and networks, and that achieve a high level of market acceptance; • there are changes in user sentiment about the quality or usefulness of our products or concerns related to privacy and sharing, safety, security, or other factors; • we are unable to manage and prioritize information to ensure users are presented with content that is interesting, useful, and relevant to them; • there are adverse changes in our products that are mandated by legislation, regulatory authorities, or litigation, including settlements or consent decrees; • technical or other problems prevent us from delivering our products in a rapid and reliable manner or otherwise affect the user experience;" Buying FB stocks is indeed very risky. But if you want to gamble, that is up to you. Do not tell me, I told you so!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Will FaceBook Stocks be a Good Long Term Investments?

I am not a professional stock broker and my knowledge of the stock investment business is almost nil. But I believe it will not be a good investment long term. But short term and speculative investment, perhaps. The price started at $38 the other day. Today it increased to about 41 dollars, an increased of $3 just for one day. So, if you were able to purchase 1000 stock shares yesterday, you earned 3,000 dollars profit just for one day. Fantastic! The reason why I feel FB stocks will not be a good long term investment is because FB is just a social media site and not a diversified company. FB is just a fad and in the long term this fad will no longer be a fad especially if it start to charge it members a fee to join or used the site. I have a feeling that in the near future using FB will no longer be free. If this happens, people will lost interest. Allow me to cite some of the comments about FB in today's news. 3:02 p.m. AN HOUR TO GO :Facebook stock is trading at $39.02, up a little more than a buck. Volume just passed 450 million shares. It's another bleak day for the rest of the market, by the way. The Dow Jones industrial average appears headed for its 12th loss in the past 13 trading days. The Nasdaq composite, representing Facebook's stock exchange, is down 1 percent. 2:54 p.m. BUT SERIOUSLY, FOLKS: Twitter users are joking about the Facebook IPO. From Conan O'Brien: "Today, Facebook went public, just as MySpace's last user went private." And from the Twitter feed of the website Someecards: "My favorite Facebook public offerings are still your beach photos." _ Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer 2:29 p.m. WE ARE THE ONE-QUARTER PERCENT: Conversations about the Facebook IPO accounted for 0.25 percent of all online discussion during the first part of the workday, according to NM Incite, a company that tracks social media traffic. That may sound small, but it's an increase of 5,000 percent compared with the buzz about the Facebook IPO a month ago. It is also four times greater than the chatter for the LinkedIn IPO and 10 times greater than the Groupon IPO. _ Scott Mayerowitz, AP Business Writer 2:18 p.m. POP CULTURE: Francis Gaskins, president of IPOdesktop, a market research company, said that it wasn't a bad thing that Facebook didn't get a "pop" on its first day, similar to what happened during the 1990s dot-com frenzy. He said that most tech companies going public want a big rise in their debut to show they're "strong, dynamic companies standing out in the crowd" but that Facebook already has that image, and so may not care. Gaskins said that the banks taking Facebook public have learned from the IPOs of social media companies in the past year and are better able to gauge demand and supply for a new stock. He said a rise of 5 percent to 8 percent in this "tough market" is a success. Facebook stock is up 5.5 percent as volume approaches 400 million shares. _ Bernard Condon, AP Business Writer 2:13 p.m. ZUCK ON WHAT TODAY MEANS: CEO Mark Zuckerberg, speaking before he symbolically rang the opening bell for the Nasdaq from Menlo Park, Calif.: "Right now this all seems like a big deal. Going public is an important milestone in our history. But here's the thing: Our mission isn't to be a public company. Our mission is to make the world more open and connected. In the past eight years, all of you out there have built the largest community in the history of the world. You've done amazing things that we never would have dreamed of, and I can't wait to see what you guys all do going forward." 2:05 p.m. VITAL SIGNS: With two hours to go in the trading day, Facebook is at $40.50, or $2.50 higher than its offering price. Volume has just passed 380 million shares. By comparison, Bank of America, frequently the most active stock in the Standard & Poor's 500 index, has traded only 155 million shares today. The next most active stock in the S&P, JPMorgan Chase, is at 59 million. 1:47 p.m. UPDATE ON SOCIAL MEDIA STOCKS: Facebook stock is trading at about $41.25, a healthy gain of more than $3, but the gain is not translating to other social media companies, especially those with ties to Facebook. LinkedIn is down 3.3 percent, Groupon is down 6 percent, and Zynga, which is trading again, is down more than 8 percent. Bree Fowler, AP Business Writer 1:16 p.m. EXPERIENCING THE FACEBOOK IPO ON FACEBOOK: Facebook's IPO has Wall Street abuzz. But what about Facebook's 900 million users? Some were debating whether they should get in on the buying frenzy. Others were guessing the closing price. Several were lamenting that they hadn't thought to invent the social media site themselves. A few treated even the company like a person, congratulating it on the public offering as they might a friend on the birth of a child. "Hey Facebook! Have a good first day on the stock market," a swimming pool maintenance and repairman from Petaluma, Calif., wrote from a mobile device. Within two hours, eight other Facebook users had "liked" the post. Not all Facebook users were obsessed with the company's entrance to the stock market. The went along with their everyday lives, posting photos of drunken debauchery that they might one day regret, weighting in on the presidential election, celebrating Haitian flag day or just welcoming the start of the weekend. _ Scott Mayerowitz, AP Business Writer 1:05 p.m. NASDAQ ON THE DELAY: Seconds before noon, with demand for Facebook stock overwhelming, Nasdaq issued a message on one of its websites saying that it was "investigating an issue in delivering trade execution messages" from the Facebook IPO. Nasdaq initially planned the first trades of Facebook stock for 11 a.m., then 11:05 a.m. The stock opened at about 11:30. Facebook is trading at about $41, or $3 higher than its offering price. Volume is approaching 320 million shares traded. _ Tali Arbel, AP Business Writer A FUND MANAGER WEIGHS IN: Chris Brown, manager of the Pax World Balanced mutual fund, made a roughly $14 million investment when his $1.9 billion fund acquired private shares of Facebook on a secondary market before the IPO. As shares traded publicly for around $40 at midday Friday, Brown said the rise from the stock's $38 opening price was unsurprising. "Going into the IPO, there has been a lot of skepticism from investors, in particular institutional investors, questioning anything from whether the price of the stock is fair, to whether Facebook can successfully monetize and sell ads," he said. "We're long-term investors. It's nice to have the stock up for one day, but it's only one day. It's hard to extrapolate much as to the future of the company." In coming days, Brown expects plenty of ups and downs for the stock, as investors assess a company whose prospects are hard to pin down because of its evolving business model. "You're going to see obviously an extreme amount of volatility over the next week as people evaluate the stock," Brown said. _ Mark Jewell, AP Personal Finance Writer So, my dear readers, this is just my personal opinion. Buying stocks is just like gambling. Good luck to you. I hope you the best in your investment plans. As for me, I will wait until the buying frenzy is over. Perhaps, I will buy a small share as a short term investment so I can say I owned a piece of FB.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Today is Our 55th Wedding Anniversary

Today is our 55th wedding anniversary. We are old in chronological age but very young in spirit. My wife, Macrine and I have four adult children ranging in ages from 47 to 54 years old. We have six grand children ranging in ages from 9 to 21 years old. No grand celebration today, just a lobster and steak dinner and our regular weekly Casino escapade. Our love story started in the early 1950's at the University of the Philippines, in Diliman, Quezon City. I was introduced to my wife via her uncle, the late Reverend Father Constantino Nieva. At that time, Fr Tino ( that's how we called him when he was still alive) was a law student and the President of the University of the Philippines Student Action (UPSCA). UPSCA was a student organization with both social and religious goals under the guidance of the Late Reverend Father John P. Delaney, a Jesuit priest and Chaplain of the University for Roman Catholic residents of the UP campus. Macrine and I love music. We joined the UPSCA choir and our friendship developed into true love. In 1955 when I graduated from the University, Macrine and I had separated, since she transferred to another university. However the next year during my 22nd birthday, she surprised me with a birthday cake, that she baked from scratch. It was an orange-chiffon cake, the best tasting cake I have ever tasted. We got together again that day. On May 8, 1957 we got married in Boac, Marinduque, her hometown. It was a 3-day celebration. The whole town were invited. Two water buffaloes, 10 baby pigs and 100 chickens were slaughtered for the occasion. We settled at our new home in Quezon City, a gift from both our parents. I was then teaching Chemistry at the University of the Philippines- my Alma mater. In 1959, I received a positive response from my application for scholarship to do graduate studies in Chemistry to the United States. This stage in our married life is discussed in an article I wrote in my blog as follows: “A year later, we were joyful to find out that my wife was in the family way with our oldest son. With all the blessings and major events transpiring in my life, I had completely forgotten about my personal vow to do graduate schoolwork in the US. One day I was surprised to receive a notice of an acceptance for a full teaching assistantship and scholarship. It was from one of the applications I sent out before we got married. The comfort and serenity of our married life was about to be shaken. I enthusiastically shared this good news with my wife, who wasn't too glad to hear about it. The thought of me leaving her alone with a child on the way, to go halfway around the world, distressed her. We had several long and unproductive discussions regarding this favorable opportunity. I had to postpone my trip a few times to appease her. I was torn between choosing my ambition to do graduate studies in the US alone, or staying with my wife in the Philippines. I had to make a tough decision before the graduate school offer expired. In retrospect, I was thankful to and appreciative of my late father-in-law who intervened on my behalf. If not, I would have been stuck in the Philippines teaching Chemistry at the university, and would have never seen the fulfillment of my ambition. I was not aware that he had advised my wife to reconsider her decision, and let me go freely to pursue my dreams. My wife later on informed me that without her father's advice, she would not have given me her full consent to leave her and pursue my studies. She was not aware of the importance of my personal vow to do better in life, in light of failing to obtain my Latin Honors in college. Inasmuch as my wife was anxious with our impending separation, I was deeply saddened to leave her alone, but excited to go and fulfill my dreams. I went ahead to the US for my graduate studies, but I was totally unprepared for what was in store for me. It was my first trip away from my homeland, family and friends. I was going to live and study in the American Midwest, and I had to adjust to the western lifestyle, culture and cold winter weather without any friends or relatives to comfort me. During my first year in the US, the reality of living alone and studying in a foreign land negatively affected my drive and ambition. I was tempted twice to nearly quit school, leave the US and return to my family to the Philippines. Graduate schoolwork while teaching Chemistry was tough and demanding. I was miserably homesick, lonely and missed my wife very badly, especially during the Holidays and Christmas. Moreover, the winters of Chicago were harsh, and can feel gloomy and depressing. It was difficult to tolerate the cold weather. I was accustomed to the tropical climate of the Philippines. In Chicago, I oftentimes asked myself what the heck I was doing in the US, with tears running down my face, and almost freezing on my cheeks and nose because of the frigid temperature. I could be happier and warm in my homeland, and be together with my cherished family. The promise I made to fulfill my ambition, which was triggered by the one point I missed at the final examination in my Differential Calculus class, kept me going. I did my best with my work and studies. I never again considered quitting, and I was determined to finish what I had started. I finally made it, and I completed my Doctorate degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Illinois in 1964. A year after I left the Philippines, my wife and our first baby, whose birth I did not witness, joined me in Chicago, Illinois. Their presence provided me with inspiration and encouragement to fulfill my ambition”. The day after my Ph. D graduation was the start of my 25 years of professional career working for four private companies here in the US and then for another productive 12 years for the Food and Drug Administration(FDA). In 2002, I retired from FDA and started building our beach resort and retirement home in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines. Last year I wrote an article in one of my blogs on my secret of a lasting marriage. An excerpt of that article is as follows: “Several of our friends and relatives often ask me what one has to do for a lasting marriage. In other words is there a formula or secret for a lasting marriage? The question has no specific answer and may vary from one couple to another. However, I do believe that the couple must really be in love with each other unconditionally. So, when do you know that both husband and wife have attained unconditional love? You are truly in love with your partner when you have totally accepted her or his faults, weaknesses and flaws. There is no perfect human being, so once you have attained this outlook in your married life, your are indeed truly in love with your partner. Do I have a secret formula for a lasting and happy marriage? I have no secret except that there should always be an open communication between you and your partner. In the case of my wife of 55 years, Macrine Nieva Jambalos, I have accepted her flaws and she has accepted my flaws and weaknesses. In addition, both of us have recognized our strengths as well as our gifts and different personalities. Again there is no perfect human being, and no perfect husband or wife. Our communication skills are perfect, we even think of the same things at the same time. A couple of days ago, when both of us were sitting in the patio just relaxing, all of a sudden I asked her about our grand daughter. Macrine was so surprise because at that moment she was thinking of exactly of the same subject. She asked me if I was reading her mind. Couples who have been married for a long time have usually the same likes and dislikes. But this is not a guarantee of a long lasting marriage. Sometimes, it is better to have different things to do, perhaps even a different hobby so as not to suffocate each other every minute of your daily life”. This is my love story- 55 years of patience, love, give and take and true communication.

Friday, May 4, 2012

My Top 15 Popular Posts

I started blogging in the summer of 2009. At present I have 8 blogs and have written more than 3000 articles. The topics ranges from my love for Marinduque, my autobiography, my life experiences in the US and in the Philippines since 1960, travels and the highs and lows of my professional career as a chemist for for four private companies and as a Chemistry team Leader for the US Food and Drug Administration. I have written on almost all subjects except politics and religion. The following are my top 15 articles, date of posting, number of page views and subject of the article. Title Posting, Date, # of Page Views , (Subject) 1. Death Valley National Park 12/1/10 13,620 (vacation and travel) 2. Chapter 4 , My College Years 5/9/09 11,572 ( college memoirs, oblation run PHOTO) 3. Have You Eaten a Durian? 9/12/10 10,376 (fruit and gardening) 4. Singkil and Tinikling 5/20/09 7,407 (Philippines folk dances) 5. Everglades National Park 1/11/11 7,151 ( national park and travel) 6. Boracay and the Regency Hotel 1/16/11 6,892 (beach resort and vacation) 7. El Nido, Lagen Island, Palawan 11/23/10 5,002 (travel and beach resort) 8. Memories of Japanese-American War 5/9/09 4,981 (autobiography, war memories) 9. Bellarocca Island Resort 5/20/09 4,893 (travel and vacation) 10. Cloyne Court, Chapters 10,19 & 20 9/2/09 4,082 (book on student life in UC in the 1970's) 11. Japanese-American War in the PHL 10/10/10 3,879 (history, WW II) 12. Vacation to San Juan, Puerto Rico 11/16/10 3,710 (travel and vacation) 13. I love Sunsets. How about You? 7/23/10 3,684 ( photography) 14. Cancun Mexico and the Mayan Ruins 11/15/10 3,208 (travel and vacation) 15. Acadia National Park, Maine 12/28/10 3,174 (national park and travel) In the next few days, these top 15 post will be reposted in my blogs with current updates. Watch for it!


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