, June 17, 2024

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Circuit breakers, Onions, Destab, and Retrograde

  •   5 min reads
Circuit breakers, Onions, Destab, and Retrograde
Myrna Bico Gajelonia | Facebook

For government communicators obligated to officially explain all these developments with a straight face, let me give a piece of unsolicited advice, culled from years of staring at the stars

It’s not even halfway through January but we’ve got enough controversial stories to fill an entire year.

Let’s see. Our air space gets shut down on the first day of 2023 because someone allegedly plugged a 220V device on a 380V outlet. Aviation officials claim it was a problem with an outdated Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS), but later told congressmen in a hearing that a circuit breaker conked out. Still, officials want to replace their UPS. They are asking P11 billion to replace a device that’s working fine, prompting a congressman to quip, “Nasira and spark plug pero gusto nyong bumili ng motor,” or something like that (Sometimes we get gems of wisdom from our beloved solons). How much did the airlines lose? P100 million, according to the same officials. Will government reimburse them, since this was clearly not their fault? No dice. But should that happen, will the airlines accept payment in onions?


Onion prices are spiraling out of control, to the dismay of sisig and bistek lovers. The bulb is the new gold standard. The administration is going to import onions to bring down prices. Farmers are grumbling. That should have been done as early as October, they say. It’s the start of the harvest season for onions, so why import now? The lack of common sense not to mention concern for onion farmers is enough to make one cry in frustration. Meanwhile, meme makers are harvesting emoticons. Onion cartels and hoarders are crying their way to the bank.

Speaking of crying and grumbling, not a few senior police officials are crying and grumbling over the Interior Secretary’s order for them to hand in their courtesy resignations. The order, presented as an appeal, covers full colonels to generals. The unprecedented although legally murky move is ostensibly intended to cleanse the ranks of policemen involved in the drug trade. Earlier, a police sergeant was busted with over 900 kilos of shabu. The cop, however, gets reinstated supposedly because of the intercession of a ranking police official. Lucky fella.

Benhur Abalos Facebook page

More than 500 out of nearly 1,000 senior police officials have so far submitted their courtesy resignations. But the grumbling persists. Then the chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) is replaced. Officers grumble some more.

Defense Visual Information Distribution Service

Across EDSA, at Camp Aguinaldo, more crying and grumbling. The Armed Forces chief of staff is replaced  by the guy he replaced a few months earlier, the OIC of the Defense Department quits, a new one is appointed. A group of senior military officials grumble and post angry messages on Viber group chats. The former Defense OIC says he was not given the courtesy of being told that a new chief of staff has been named. The Palace denies it. But the former OIC should not grumble. No one seems to be aware of the change of command until it was announced by the Palace. It was held inside a golf course, sans the usual pomp and pageantry. The caddies were reportedly told to take the day off. The outgoing chief didn’t get his farewell parade. The Commander-in-Chief was absent.

Over the weekend, the word destabilization is resurrected. The PNP is placed on red alert.  But it’s not because of the alleged destabilization or a possible riot over the price of onions. It’s because of the Black Nazarene procession, another unprecedented event, since this is the first time in centuries that the annual outpouring of faith is deemed a threat to stability.

For government communicators obligated to officially explain all these developments with a straight face, let me give a piece of unsolicited advice, culled from years of staring at the stars from a recumbent and slightly buzzed perspective (with apologies to PJ O’ Rourke).
Ready? Mercury Retrograde.


Mercury what? Retrograde. Yes, it’s astrology. Laugh at your own risk. Astrology during medieval times was regarded as a Science - with a capital S - studied alongside Astronomy. Millions of Americans swear by it. A former first lady believed in it. That’s Nancy Reagan, in case you were thinking of someone else.
Mercury Retrograde is pretty serious stuff. CNN ran a story about it, so, you know, it’s serious stuff.

The CNN story quotes Constance Stellas, an astrologist and author, and she offers this explanation: “In the retrograde period…Mercury speeds by the earth and like a fast car kicks up dust as it whizzes by. The ‘dust’ or mental confusion can accompany this planetary motion.”

Here’s Stellas again as quoted by CNN: “Mercury was the messenger god and he ruled all communication and thought-filled connections between people as well as documents. Thinking clearly, thinking slowly, reaching for words, remembering names — all these functions are ruled by Mercury.”

Periods of Mercury Retrograde are associated with chaos and miscommunication, including electronic equipment going bonkers. See?

The last retrograde of 2022 was from December 29 to January 18 2023 (No, I’m not making this up). We can expect three Mercury Retrogrades in 2023: April 21, August 23, and December 13, and each retrograde lasts about three weeks. So if government communicators are looking for a quick and easy answer to everything loopy during those weeks, blame it all on Mercury Retrograde, since it would be career suicide to admit incompetence.

Elisse Joson | Instagram

Oh, McCoy and Elisse splits up. But it’s not because of onions, resignations, or destabilization. Mercury Retrograde. O, di ba? - JS

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