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Robert Harland

Her last party

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Somehow I can’t see this catching on the Philippines, but in the US it’s become a hot topic of conversation among funeral directors.

In June, New Orleans resident, 53 year-old Miriam Burbank died. Her daughters said she was full of life and everyone adored her. So when it came time to plan her funeral, they decided to reflect this and take an unconventional approach.

Property prices on the up - almost everywhere

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The global house price boom continues apace.

Apart from strongly rising housing markets in the Philippines and Taiwan, the momentum seems to be shifting from Asia, where interventionist authorities have slowed housing markets in Hong Kong, Singapore and China.

Instead, the action is moving to the Pacific, the Gulf and to Europe, which are all seeing strong price rises.

We are the Grimsters!

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I have a calling card that states my occupation as ‘Grimster’. "What the hell is a Grimster?" is the inevitable question whenever I give out the card.

Quite simply, a Grimster is a professional obituary writer. I’m only a part-time Grimster, but there are people around the world who spend much of their working lives writing about the dead.

Many Philippine papers have pages headed ‘Obituaries’, but these are really just death notices.

Bill Haley, the Star Who Rocked the World

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Elvis Presley may have been The King, but Bill Haley was undeniably the father of Rock and Roll. He died 33 years ago, but his legacy lives on.

Although he never achieved the fame and fortune of those who followed in his footsteps, it was Haley who revolutionize the music industry with his Shake Rattle and Roll hit of December 1954.

I was then just shy of my eighth birthday, but I remember hearing it blearing out at a local fair. We certainly didn’t hear it on the radio - it wasn’t the kind of music the British Broadcasting Corporation played in those days.

The End of the Laptop?

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Is the end of the laptop nigh? I hope not. As convenient as tablets and iPads are, for me they do not compare with a solid laptop with a proper screen and a proper keyboard.

Mind you, I’m an old codger, who grew up with a portable typewriter, so maybe I’m just past it as far as all the new technology is concerned.

With that in mind I was concerned to read recently that struggling electronics group Sony is selling its Vaio laptop computer division. I’ve never owned a Sony laptop, but I believe they are very good.

Santacruzan Set for May 25

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The Bacolod Cultural Foundation, Inc (BCFI) will celebrate Flores de Mayo – the month of flowers – in tribute to the Virgin Mary with the traditional Santacruzan ceremony on Sunday, May 25.

The Santacruzan is a popular religious-historical event and is held in Bacolod and many other cities, towns and villages throughout the Philippines every May.

It commemorates the search of the Holy Cross by Queen Helena (Reyna Elena) and her son, the newly converted emperor Constantine. After the Holy Cross was found in Jerusalem and brought back to Rome, there was a joyful celebration of thanksgiving.


Past Reyna Elena, Johanna Gabrielle Chua with Prince Constantine, Robert Harland Jr.

Secretive artist saves youth club

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Banksy, the mysterious British graffiti artist, political activist, film director and painter, has saved a youth club in the English City of Bristol from closing down by giving it permission to keep ‘Mobile Lover’, a piece he painted last month on the club’s doorway.

The piece shows a couple embracing while checking their mobile phones.

Dennis Stinchcombe, leader of the Broad Plain Boys’ Club, quickly removed the piece, but Bristol City Council took it arguing that the work was on its land. They sent it to a museum for safekeeping.

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